“Life is a short party that will soon be forgotten.” This is the film’s tagline. Noe forgot the fun, party element. This is an intense look at what it means to be older when memories get confused or even lost and then you die.
Vortex is a hard hard slog. It’s a film about waiting for death. I kept hoping it would crank up a notch or something other than the claustrophobic setting of a big Parisian apartment. He uses the split screen to great effect to show this aged couple (Francoise Lebrun), the male actor (Dario Argento) turned 80 last year as they navigate their daily lives.
The wife has advanced dementia and the husband is trapped in his own mind not willing to believe she’s that bad or indeed that he’s as old as he is. In using the split screen, it allows for a very sparse script and for the actors to just act. The only “relief” is when the son and grandson appear. Even then, the relief is very brief because we too feel the son’s (Alex Lutz) helplessness at his father’s refusal to see just how critical his mother’s advanced dementia is.
Vortex is a film about love, ageing and memory because in the end, all we have are our memories. Who are we when those memories leave us? It is profound but a difficult watch.
VORTEX will be released in cinemas on 13th May.
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