×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Crawl

A very Gallic kind of moody character drama, "Crawl" treads familiar waters in depicting a hesitant romance between two loners as contrasted with another couple's marital woes in a cash-strapped seaside town.

With:
With: Swann Arlaud, Anne Marivin, Nina Meurisse, Gilles Cohen, Jean-Marie Frin, Francois Berleand, David Boittin, Paul Flatres, Louis Flatres.

A very Gallic kind of moody character drama, “Crawl” treads familiar waters in depicting a hesitant romance between two loners as contrasted with another couple’s marital woes in a cash-strapped seaside town. Herve Lasgouttes’ first feature is accomplished, but doesn’t develop the rooting interest or depth of the best of its type, a better concurrent example being the similar “Rust and Bone.” Lack of comparative star power and likely mixed critical response will make this watchable but unmemorable effort primarily of interest to fests and French-language telecasters offshore.

Without ambition or plans, young Martin (Swann Arlaud) leads a marginal existence in his Brittany hometown, accepting odd jobs in lieu of the steady ones he can’t keep, living with his widowed drunkard father (Jean-Marie Frin), and often resorting to petty theft to make ends meet. Older sis Gwen (Nina Meurisse), by contrast, is solidly bourgeois — gainfully employed, with two kids and a big modern house up the road. But she, too, is just scraping by, with husband Jean (Gilles Cohen) under pressure from developers to keep local building projects under cost by means legal or otherwise.

Popular on Variety

As a result, Martin is hired under the table to help remodel the local cannery where Gwen is the inhouse nurse. Also working there is Corinne (Anne Marivin), a young woman who lives in a trailer, saving her money to realize a belated dream of becoming a competitive open-water swimmer in Mexico. She and Martin fall into a passionate on/off affair mostly roiled by his petulant mood swings. He stomps off for longer than usual upon discovering she’s pregnant; Jean is no less pleased when Gwen announces she’s expecting her own unplanned third child.

Things get even more complicated once Martin’s petty larceny gets him accused of something much worse, and providing his alibi could cost Jean a big contract.

It’s hard to know from either the script or Arlaud’s performance whether Martin is meant to be stupid, self-destructive or simply immature, distinctions that would help explain his more reckless decisions. He’s less than fascinating as pure enigma, while Marivin’s underwritten role is a bit of a blank. With Jean painted as a stereotypical yuppie jerk, the sole sympathetic character here is the grounded, conciliatory Gwen, who often seems to be in a different movie — one perhaps more ordinary, but also more psychologically and dramatically fleshed-out.

The rough-hewn, handheld look is par for the course. Still, Lasgouttes shows a facility for embedding a physical setting in the DNA of his story, which will surely serve him well in forthcoming projects.

Crawl

France

Production: A Sensito Films presentation of a Sensito Films, AGM Factory and Neon Prods. production. (International sales: Premium Films, Paris.) Produced by Stephanie Douet. Directed by Herve Lasgouttes. Screenplay, Loic Delafoulhouse, Lasgouttes.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Emmanuelle Le Fur; editor, Laurence Bawedin; music, Raphael Ibanez de Garayo; set decorator, Erwan Le Floc'h; costume designer, Alice Camboumac; sound, Christophe Giovannoni; supervising sound editor, Christophe Etrillard; re-recording mixer, Yann Legay; assistant director, Victoire Gounod; casting, Laure Cochener. Reviewed at Palm Springs Film Festival (World Cinema Now), Jan. 5, 2013. (Also in 2012 Venice Film Festival.) Running time: 87 MIN.

With: With: Swann Arlaud, Anne Marivin, Nina Meurisse, Gilles Cohen, Jean-Marie Frin, Francois Berleand, David Boittin, Paul Flatres, Louis Flatres.

More Film

  • Endeavor Content Studio Logo

    Endeavor Content, Studio Exile Strike First-Look Deal With Mexican Producer Subtrama (EXCLUSIVE)

    Endeavor Content is upping its local-language game, signing a significant first look deal with Mexico City-based producer Subtrama. Endeavor enters the deal with studio Exile, a long-form English and Spanish content maker. Subtrama is behind series like Cary Fukunaga’s Netflix drama “Maniac” and films like Gael García Bernal’s “Museo.” Mauricio Katz, Manuel Alcalá, and Panorama [...]

  • Taylor Swift Variety Facetime

    How Midterm Elections Inspired Taylor Swift's New Song, 'Only the Young'

    Miss Americana was keeping another song about America in her back pocket, as it turns out. Taylor Swift didn’t just record 18 songs for last fall’s “Lover” album — a 19th, “Only the Young,” was held back and kept under wraps for the right occasion. It finds its moment in “Miss Americana,” the Lana Wilson-directed [...]

  • Bradley Cooper Nightmare Alley

    Netflix Nabs Bradley Cooper's Leonard Bernstein Drama

    Netflix will back Bradley Cooper’s upcoming drama about Leonard Bernstein, the legendary conductor and musical maestro behind “West Side Story” and “Candide,” Variety has confirmed. The film was initially set up at Paramount. It has an A-list lineup of producers, including Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, and Todd Phillips. Kristie Macosko Krieger from [...]

  • The Simpsons - Disney parodies -

    Disney Mashes Up 'The Simpsons' Parodies of Disney Films, Theme Parks

    Disney has embraced some of the gentle ribbing dished out by “The Simpsons” over the years — hoping to convince more people to sign up for Disney Plus. The media conglomerate released a compilation of what it calls “the best Disney references in ‘The Simpsons,'” which is now part of the Disney empire, with past [...]

  • Lin-Manuel Miranda

    Sundance 2020: Will the Market Be Colder After Last Year's Spree?

    When it comes to big acquisition deals for independent movies, Sundance is the room where it happens, to borrow a lyric from “Hamilton.” So it’s a lucky coincidence that Lin-Manuel Miranda will be a guest at this year’s film festival. For the first time, Miranda will hit the slopes in Park City, Utah, to rub [...]

  • Oprah Russell Simmons Documentary

    Oprah Defends Decision to Exit #MeToo Doc: 'This Is Not a Victory for Russell' Simmons

    Oprah Winfrey explained her decision to step away from “On the Record,” an expose about sexual harassment in the music industry, including women who have accused mogul Russell Simmons of misconduct. The documentary, from filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, will premiere at Sundance on Jan. 25. Winfrey, who served as an executive producer and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content