“Un Couteau dans le Coeur” tries to achieve some semblance of self-awareness, a sly wink at its own garish kitsch in neon lettering. But unlike Anne’s pornography, the film never reaches its—ahem—climax.
Mitchell’s imagery simmers evocatively, refreshingly trippy—though it all seems to gesture at a statement that he hasn’t clarified, even to himself, like a string of blissed-out, drug-addled musings he scribbled while half-asleep.
Oh, what’s that? A yellow press badge? I don’t… I’m afraid I don’t see anything… Hmm… Did you hear something, Jacques? Mm… I don’t think so? Maybe the light Riviera breeze? Or perhaps a Chanel No. 5-scented fart slipped out of Dame Helen Mirren over there? Hmm.
The end result is, like the film’s protagonist, a strange hybrid of several genres that is one part Swedish noir, one part romance, one part moralistic fable for a film that plays jump rope with the border of what viewers can bear to see on screen.