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MOVIES (GFF 2022): Madeleine Collins - Review

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Antoine Barraud’s Madeleine Collins is a tense, nervy double life thriller where nothing is as it seems – we meet Judith, who has a family in Switzerland and France, spending time with Abdel, with whom she is raising a little girl – and Melvil, who she has two older boys. It’s a house of cards destined to fail with the lies that she keeps building - business trips are her cover story among the stereotypical lies given that come thick and fast - and it's a lie that gets bigger and bigger the more it develops - coupled with the identities that she keeps embracing, and Madeleine Collins is all about the implosion and collapse around Judith – escalating as it goes along and spectacularly keeping the audience absolutely hooked to its thrilling conclusion.

Virginie Efira keeps performing brilliantly throughout Judith’s experience and really plays a convincing double act – embracing both her roles marvellously. The realisation when Judith maybe goes one step too far is readily apparent and it comes home, hits hard – and leaves a mark – it constantly keeps the audience on edge and constantly remains stressful, every situation is designed for maximum impact and you’re thinking it’s only a matter of time before the house of cards that Judith has carefully built comes crashing down around her and when it does, it does so spectacularly – it’s a burning match that is ready to ignite, leaving you wondering how Judith could have kept the lies in place for so long, but puts a conceivable structure in place that doesn't feel completely outlandish the more you think about it, and the film manages to keep its paranoia very firmly entrenched in place for much of its runtime.

I think part of that is down to the fact that it plays its card maybe a little too early on in proceedings – but it does always find a way to keep you hooked, desperately wanting to find out what happens next. In that sense the drama is truly immersive – up to a point, the shaky cam didn’t fully work for me and a lot of the film is carried under the weight of Virginie Efira’s performance – it’s spectacular and really anchors every twist that could threaten to throw the drama into soap territory – for where it goes, Madeleine Collins always finds a way to stay realistic – even if it will not linger too long in your memory, it’s a solid enough watch that I can strongly recommend you seek out when you can.

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