Review: ‘It Begins With the End’

It ain't over fast enough in "It Begins With the End."

It ain’t over fast enough in “It Begins With the End,” a hopelessly overwrought tale of l’amour fou that turns into l’amour faux before things barely get started. Taking couples therapy to absurd new heights, first-timer Michael Cohen directs and stars alongside real-life partner Emmanuelle Beart as two lovers who fight, frolic, fornicate and frolic some more in a flashback-heavy narrative not unlike “Blue Valentine,” but without a single insight into the way adults actually behave. Well-lensed item will hit random fests after a local release that divorced itself from both critical and public favor.

When Jean (Cohen) spots Gabrielle (Beart) at a cafe sucking on a lemon, his hormones literally explode into his espresso. When she removes her bathrobe and claims, “I’m more than just this,” well, he’s hooked. And when she drives him so crazy that he jumps out a third-story window, then comes back upstairs to argue and make out some more, it’s clear we’re not watching a movie about real people but about a filmmaker too smitten with his star/wife to produce something credible. Time-shuffling structure makes pic feel much longer than it really is.

It Begins With the End

France

Production

An ARP Selection release of a Les Films du Kiosque, ARP, Jouror Prods. production, in association with A Plus Image, with participation of CineCinema. (International sales: Films Distribution, Paris.) Produced by Francois Kraus, Denis Pineau-Valencienne. Co-producers, Michele Petin, Laurent Petin. Directed, written by Michael Cohen, based on his novel "Ca commence par la fin."

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Axel Cosnefroy; editor, Yann Dedet; production designer, Jean-Philippe Moreaux; costume designer, Corine Moreau. Reviewed at UGC George V 9, Paris, June 2, 2010. Running time: 89 MIN.

With

Emmanuelle Beart, Michael Cohen, Leopold Kraus, Jean-Paul Dubois, Jean-Marc Mineo.
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