Don’t Look Down: Review

Don’t Look Down: Review

Talking to someone, someone you know and trust, about your inner demons and struggles is the perfect first step to overcoming them. Cinema displays and romanticises this in a number of ways, and more often than not, someone you know and trust isn’t involved at all.

Take ‘Good Will Hunting’ or ‘The Breakfast Club’ both are about people coming together to help each other when they didn’t even know the others existed before they met. Don’t Look Down (Haut perches) from French auteurs Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau is a new film that takes from a similar vein. 

5 strangers, Veronika (Manika Auxire), Marius (Geoffrey Couët), Nathan (Simon Frenay), Louis (François Nambot) and Lawrence (Lawrence Valin) find themselves together in Louis’ Paris apartment. They aren’t there by force, and they aren’t there because of some grand conspiracy, they are there because one individual unites them all and he’s waiting inside a room in the corner of the house, one we never get to enter.



All we know about the room is that the man inside it hurt every character we meet. He manipulated and humiliated them each in a different way; he’s an abuser. Together the 5 take turns entering the room to exorcise the man from their lives, and we are left to decipher the in-betweens. In these moments they paint their tormenter for us through the stories of how they ended up here tonight. They all fell for him in some way or another, and he used them all leaving scars in the process. 

Don’t Look Down is unflinching in its approach. We are strictly never allowed to meet the man whom we hear so much about, and the characters are not allowed to talk about what happens in the room either, everything about him is a mystery. As a result, we find ourselves hearing a whole lot of conversation that only vaguely connects to the situation; most of it is intensely sexual.

They go around and share their deepest fantasies, and despite promising not to judge each other, it very much seems like they all quietly do. Amongst this, they prepare and eat a variety of food and drink plenty of wine. As they do bonds begin to form between them, tenuous bonds but bonds nonetheless. 

But as much as the film evolves on the relationship front, the main story fails to become any more transparent. No one seems to be finding any genuine closure; we lack so much crucial information that everything drags almost to a halt. How was this all organised? How did they find out about each other? And most of all what is going on in that room? I understand the powerful concept the film aims for, a ‘power in knowing you aren’t the alone’ angle and whilst its depiction of camaraderie is effective its depiction of the relationship between abused and abuser is lacking.

The man in the room doesn’t become this menacing presence capable of hurting everyone immeasurably by merely showing his face, all in all, it’s more like he’s not there at all, and they are walking into an empty room. From what we hear from the 5, he is sinister, but his physical presence in the film isn’t. 

Each of the cast performs admirably. Such a dialogue-heavy film can’t have been easy to prepare for, but they each flawlessly transition from one scene to the next. Most importantly, they are engaging when they need to be which failing to do in this film would have been catastrophic as it naturally drags.

One by one, they have moments in the spotlight, detailing what the man did to them, and it works on every level when they step up to the plate. On balance, the casting may be the strongest aspect of this film because they are everything about the film that works. 

Don’t Look Down doesn’t budge for anything and that’s admirable. But in sticking so rigorously to keeping the antagonist faceless, the film loses what it’s trying to say and becomes empty.  


We hope you're enjoying BRWC. You should check us out on our social channels, subscribe to our newsletter, and tell your friends. BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese.


Trending on BRWC:

Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1

Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1

By BRWC / 9th July 2024
I Saw The TV Glow: The BRWC Review

I Saw The TV Glow: The BRWC Review

By BRWC / 25th June 2024
Inside Out 2: The BRWC Review

Inside Out 2: The BRWC Review

By BRWC / 23rd June 2024
Boys Like You: The BRWC Review

Boys Like You: The BRWC Review

By Rudie Obias / 21st June 2024
Spirited Away: Review

Spirited Away: Review

By BRWC / 28th June 2024

Cool Posts From Around the Web:



Mark is an Australian who likes movies, a lot. Now he studies and writes about them. Will watch anything Scorsese has ever touched.

NO COMMENTS

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.