2/19/2020

Jessica Forever (Review)


Writers and Directors: Caroline Poggi, Jonathan Vinel
Cast: Aomi Muyock, Sebastian Urzendosky, Augustin Raguenet, Lucas Ionesco, Paul Hamy
Year: 2019
Min: 97

In a not too distant, dystopian future, there are many male orphans that inhabit the Earth. They kill and steal, and, as such, the world, wants them dead, via special forces sent drones. That is with the exception for the titular Jessica (Aomi Muyock), who gathers them and cares for them, as their surrogate mother. As a result, all the boys all love and respect her.

Her most recent addition is a young man named Kevin (Eddy Suiveng), who they take with them at the beginning of our story. He trains with the other boys, to fight, use guns, and wear bullet-proof vests, as they all do. They are a defacto family to each other but hard times soon catch up to them. And, it doesn't take lomg for their attempts at a peaceful existence to begin to be affected by death and tragedy.
Jessica Forever is a French, sci-fi/ drama with a decidedly art-house feel. The result is an uneven, if stunning one. It is not a typical, fucked up future genre movie. This is certainly the flick's strength, but it also feels like it drags, at times. Yet, the film manages to captivate your interest in its best moments.

Writers/ directors Caroline Poggi and Jonathan Vinel give us an absolutely beautiful movie to look at. They love to give us these gorgeous, wide shots throughout the movie that immediately make it standout. It is also filled with a cast of beautiful people that aesthetically complements the beauty of the movie, itself.

The film also has a decidedly slow and languid pace. After an opening that immediately catches your attention, wherein Kevin jumps through a house's glass wall, the movie slows down considerably. In fact, it has a very deliberate pacing. Which some may take as boring, I know I felt that, at times, myself. But, it works in that when something happens, like the movie's first death, it shocks the hell out of you. In fact, anytime something violent happens to one of these kids, it feels like an absolute shock to the movie's system of tranquility or more specifically to us, the viewer.

The flick has a decidedly downer of a climax. That being said, it was at this point that I really got into the movie. Having invested so much of my time with these characters, I really cared what happened to them. Unfortunately, the ending leaves you feeling and thinking, "that's it?!" One gets the idea of what the outcome of our band of misfits is, but it still leaves you feeling empty, rather than fully satisfied. And, perhaps, that was the filmmaker's intention, all along.

The acting is solid from the cast. They all feel believable in their roles and manage to give their characters life. Even though, some of the characters aren't given as much development, others we do get to know. I especially enjpyed seeing their interactions with the other boys in their crew, Jessica, and other people they encounter. Some of these character moments are where the film is at its most interesting.

The movie begins to stream exclusively on Shudder tomorrow, Thursday, February 20, 2020. This obviously isn't a horror movie, but is a genre piece albeit an arty one. And, as one, the exploitative content is non-existent. So, don't expect to find much blood or gore. And, while there is nudity it is tastefully shot and not there for the sole purpose of having ass onscreen. Plus, it shows just how comfortable they are all with each other, as they all shower together.
Jessica Forever is an interesting, yet bumpy watch. On one hand, it is a gorgeous and stunning viewing, and the acting is very strong. But, it is also slow and kind of boring. It sometimes feels like not much of anything is happening. That is until something does happen, and then, our jaws drop. We sometimes don't get character development. And, yet when we do get it, it makes us care for them. Upon finishing it, I wasn't sure that I liked it, but I most definitely knew that I didn't dislike either.. This became even clearer to me, as I thought of the positives and wrote this review. Let's call this one an interesting curiosity item for those who like their genre fare on the more artier side of the fence.


2.5 out of 4

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