Movie review / ‘Only the Animals’ (MA)

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“Only the Animals”… love, betrayal, emotional and physical brutality, passion, adultery, truth, lies, coincidence and implausible credibility.

THE foundation of every narrative film is the screenplay. 

French director Dominik Moll co-operated with Giles Marchand in writing “Only the Animals”. 

Which of them devised which moment became irrelevant once the result of their collaboration reached the screen. 

Is what they contrived with “Only the Animals” worth watching? You bet it is. 

Why do I have the gall to predict your reaction? 

Because time, place, motive and behaviour in this economically-populated drama of adultery, murder, criminality and mystery fit together with tantalising precision that begins with a Sierra Leone farmer riding his bike to market carrying a goat on his back and ends with a high-country French farmer foiled but not the loser in an online scam explained in delicate detail.

Is it great cinema? 

How do you assess greatness? Some movies get it in the moment of their conception in the writer’s mind. Some movies create it in the director and the cast’s realisation of putting it on the screen. Some have messages that we can’t ignore. Or can’t accept. 

Others have the benefit of collective serendipity. We love movies for their variety and their challenges to our intelligence. And our spirits.

Michel (Denis Ménochet) and Alice (Laure Calamy) run a farm. The film gradually explains their connections with fellow farmer Joseph (Damien Bonnard), Evelyne (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), whose second home is in the area, young waitress Marion (Nadia Tereszkiewicz) and Armand (Guy Roger “Bibisse” N’Drin), who lives half a world away in Africa.

“Only the Animals” is a thriller, a murder mystery, an emotional roller-coaster of love, betrayal, emotional and physical brutality, passion, adultery, truth, lies, coincidence and implausible credibility. 

I enjoyed it.

At Palace Electric

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
"Only the Animals" (MA) *** and a half
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Dougal Macdonald
“CityNews” film reviewer

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