Run time: 117 mins
Claire Denis’s new film is a seductively indirect love triangle, a drama of the mind as much as the heart. It’s an intriguing tale, and acted at the highest pitch of sensual conviction
Sara (Juliette Binoche), a radio show host, and Jean (Vincent Lindon), an unconfident ex-con ex-rugby player, maintain a fragile domestic midlife equilibrium as a doting couple. But one sight of her former lover François (Grégoire Colin) sends Sara into an anguish of fond remembrance, and soon François is calling Jean, offering him a job in his old game as a rugby talent scout.
Jean’s proximity to François appears to only stoke the flame of temptation for Sara, who begins a romance that obviously threatens to destroy the domestic harmony she and Jean once shared.
A melodrama steeped in typically French ideas of sexual deception and personal passion, Both Sides of the Blade isn’t just a film about two people seduced into destruction, but about two people who can’t help but blow up the complacent lives they have — the lives they insist are what they’ve always wanted, despite the choices they go on to make.