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  • Writer's pictureStrictly Films

Vortex; Grade: B

Vortex tells a story about a married couple named Lui (Dario Argento) and Elle (Francoise Lebrun). Lui is an author whom is writing a book about cinema correlating with dreams, as Elle whom used to prescribed drugs for a living is now retired. The couple will embark on an extreme challenge ahead: Dementia. Yes unfortunately Elle is suffering from dementia, as it increases the stress of her husband Lui who is incapable of taking care of her, not to mention he’s had a history of health problems in the past.

It’s quite obvious why I wanted to see Vortex: One of my favorite film makers made the film aka Gaspar Noe! Gaspar Noe is an important figure in cinema in my opinion because he accurately represents what a film maker is suppose to be. Gaspar Noe gets under the skins of many critics and most certainly moviegoers, he is most certainly not a traditional kind of film maker as his films are wild yet bold and most certainly unique. Why I say he represents what a film maker should look like it’s because when it comes to his films: He’s unapologetic and doesn’t give a flying fuck about pleasing anyone or what anyone thinks.

That should be the mentality of every single film maker: It’s your vision, be proud of every single creation you come up with because you are passionate about it, not because you want to make money or want everyone to like what you make. If every film maker would have the mentality of a Gaspar Noe: Cinema would be an extremely great place, filled with original, unique, and bold ideas. Appreciate Gaspar Noe and what he has done for cinema: He is a rare kind and is worth celebrating.

Knowing Gaspar Noe’s style and this film being about dementia: I assumed it was going to be an absolute nightmare, detailing the pure horrors of what ones mind goes through during dementia. If you don’t care for Gaspar Noe’s previous films due to it’s extreme nature: I think Vortex is going to be more of your liking, because this is Noe’s most tamed film since his debut I Stand Alone.

The Cinematography style of Vortex is actually unique, it shows two lens where it shows Lui and Elle side by side, as we get a look at each person. What I really liked about this visual style of choice, is in a way Lui represents her second eye per say. When one is going through tragic memory loss to where they don’t know who they are or where they are, it’s like Lui represents her second eye in a way, to help guide her out of say being completely lost at a market or making sure she doesn’t throw out Lui’s important papers for his novel. In Elle’s condition it’s like losing an eye, as Lui plays an important figure like a second eye.

Visually the film looks pretty great, personally loved the shots at the end as it was quite haunting and a depressing look on afterlife. What strikes me about those images at the end is the fact as human beings, we take so much pride and love towards materialistic items as we collect and store them, knowing damn well when it’s our time to go… They’re just left behind. I felt that moment was pretty saddening but more so an important message, that our time should be valued with the relationships we have on this earth, rather than valuing over things that won’t carry with ourselves when we pass on this world.

The story at hand pretty much shows an accurate portrayal by not only one goes through dealing with complications of dementia, but also what one goes through dealing with a person of this kind, especially if it’s a significant other. You honestly would never wish this sort of thing to happen upon anyone: It’s such a terrifying but more so a devastating thing to go through whether you are the person that has it or seeing/dealing with someone whom is going through it. It’s heartbreaking to watch for both parties, especially when one party feels the need to feel there is no reason to be alive as they feel like a complete burden.

The film does a pretty great job in just how important it is, to actually get the proper care for this matter. With all due respect: No matter how much Lui loves Elle and thinks he can take care of her and continue on living a life forward in the same house they’ve been living with all their life, he’s in no position to take care of her on her own. Like who cares about the house or things inside the house as Lui desperately wants to keep: The longer you hold out on actually getting proper care for Elle, the more likely things are going to get much worse since this is a very serious matter on their hands.

There are quite a few strong moments of dialogue in this film. Like I enjoyed the whole conversation being dealt with on the radio, as how to increase memory gain or the true value of what to do when one passes on in the form of a proper grieving process. You know I’ve had a firm belief on not wanting a funeral or want any celebration of my life of any kind when I pass, as I always believed that when one passes, one should move on and be content in knowing their spirit lives inside the ones they love. But when I heard that conversation taken place on that subject matter… I gotta tell ya it brought me to a deeper understanding, on why that temple means a great deal in terms of valuing their memory.

I loved the sequence when Lui talks about cinema and dreams, as he describes how the movie theater is the perfect experience to experience a dream. That whole sequence of dialogue pretty much says it all, on why movie theaters are indeed the most important essential thing in life with regards to cinema as a whole… Without the movie theater, there is no point in movies existing as I stand firmly on that belief.

The film surprisingly enough has moments where it takes a jab on modern day society and the usage of drugs. The film has a moment where one says “We’re all like slaves to drugs”, as come to think of it… It’s kind of true. Human beings and their drug abuse is getting WAY out of hand, especially when ones like such as Lui and Elle, whom take all these strong drugs but unfortunately they become worsen over the course of time.

Vortex does have a couple flaws. I felt the pacing at times can indeed feel slow at certain moments. I also felt frustrated in the third act, where Elle’s son Stephane (Alex Lutz) doesn’t take the incentive to bring his mother to a facility that can actually take care of her. Like considering what has taken place with Elle’s life, why the hell is she still in this house?! It’s infuriating, I understand it can be justified for a few reasons, but this is a SERIOUS matter that can not be ignored any longer.

Vortex may not be the best of Gaspar Noe’s films, however it still is a good film as I appreciate the fact he went into a whole new direction with yet a unique original creation.

Overall, Vortex is a solid film. I recommend checking this film out, be warned this is a very saddening film to experience. -Mitch Smietana

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