Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5  
Trouble Every Day (2002)

On honeymoon in Paris, with his young bride June (Vessey), American pharmaceuticals company employee Shane (Gallo) is desperate to track down a scientist called Léo (Descas), with whom he once worked with in Africa on experiments into the human libido.

Léo, though, has disappeared from his research lab, and has been forced to lock up his own wife (a feral-looking Dalle) at their house, in a bid to control her lust for the flesh and blood of strangers. (The film's opening sequence observes her predatory nocturnal assault on an unsuspecting trucker.)

Meanwhile the pill-popping Shane is himself increasingly tormented by his own devouring impulses, both towards his new wife and to a pretty chambermaid (Loiret) at their hotel.

French director Claire Denis' follow-up to the mesmerising Foreign Legion drama "Beau Travail" is a far more interesting and troubling work than advance reviews from the festival circuit had suggested.

Accompanied by a mournfully romantic Tindersticks soundtrack, "Trouble Every Day" is a European art-house variation on the vampire movie, in which the characters' cannibalistic cravings can be understood as a metaphor for their ravenous sexual desires.

Admittedly there's a certain sketchiness to Denis' screenplay (co-written by Jean-Pol Fargeau). The details of the medical research remain hazy and the crucial figure of Léo drops out of the narrative, whilst the actual murders are undeniably gruesome in their explicitness.

But in a drama more concerned with atmosphere than story, the film-maker and her regular cinematographer Agnès Godard sustain and build a mood of creeping dread, in which banal, everyday activities are invested with a powerful foreboding.

End Credits

Director: Claire Denis

Writer: Claire Denis, Jean-Pol Fargeau

Stars: Vincent Gallo, Tricia Vessey, Béatrice Dalle, Alex Descas, Florence Loiret

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Length: 101 minutes

Cinema: 27 December 2002

Country: France/Germany/Japan

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