Titane (2021)

titane poster 2021 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Originality, bizarre, great talent from Julia Ducournau

Lots of stuff going on that doesn't entirely feel fleshed out

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Titane

Studio:  Kazak Productions/Frakas Productions/Arte France Cinema

Genre(s):  Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  July 13, 2021 (Cannes)/July 14, 2021 (France)/October 1, 2021 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

titane car accident metal plate

Now my reign of terror begins!

A car accident as a child leaves Alexia (Agathe Rousselle) with a metal plate in her head and an obsession with the metal beast that caused her to have it.  Alexia is also a serial killer who is forced to go on the run and decides to pose as the missing son of Vincent (Vincent Lindon) who works as a firefighter but struggles with his own demons.  Something is growing inside and it is threatening to get out…and Alexia is fighting to keep her true identity hidden.

Written and directed by Julia Ducournau, Titane is a French body-horror sci-fi erotic thriller.  The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and won the Palme d’Or for Ducournau.

When I read a brief description of Titane when it was released at Cannes, I knew that I would see it…it was too bizarre to miss.  Unfortunately, my attempts to see in the theater failed, and I didn’t get to see it until it was available for purchase.  The descriptions are just as weird as the film, and the film has a lot to unbox.

titane father vincent lindon agathe rousselle

You’re my…boy?

The movie has a lot going on.  You have a serial killer, you have the metal fetish, gender fluid characters, and a strange family dynamic which toys with a quasi-incest relationship.  These plots hit you all at once and it becomes a fascinating (but hard to wrap your head around) film that might have a lot of meaning but also deals in shock value.  This shock value largely overrides most of the plot, but also keeps you from deconstructing the plot which might or might not just be garble.

Agathe Rousselle explodes in her first feature film which is not particularly flattering to the journalist-model.  The androgyny of her character along with the pregnancy and wrapping of her body puts the actress in a weird space which becomes captivating.  You don’t want Alexia to be caught, but she also is a liar and stone cold killer.  Likewise, Vincent Lindon is great in his role which has you feeling extremely sorry for him, but also creates a tension since there is an unnerving sexual attraction to the woman who he believes is his son.  The film becomes a character study over plot in many points.

titane incest agathe rousselle vincent lindon

He’s an affectionate dad…

The film also dives deep into body horror which feels like a modernization of Cronenberg’s style both visually and in its storytelling.  While the film drew a lot of comparisons to Crash, I also feel it is closer to The Brood which has the sins manifesting in the patients bodies.  The visuals are a blending of metal and flesh that feels reminiscent of Shin’ya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo films…with a dash of the alien horror film Under the Skin.

Titane is a film is completely original.  It might borrow from other directors, but it is an experience.  I didn’t love the film, though I liked and respected the film.  It is the type of film that you probably need to see more than once to explore and examine.  It does leave me wanting to see more from Ducournau who is doing a good job establishing herself as a director.  Titane is something…Long live the new flesh?

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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