Trouble Every Day
Trouble Every Day
2001. Directed by Claire Denis.
Claire Denis's slow burn entry into the New French Extremity uses sequences of extreme sexual violence to deconstruct the cliches of erotic transgression and marital dysfunction in Trouble Every Day,
An American doctor, Shane, and his wife arrive in Paris for their honeymoon. What begins as an innocuous marital ritual slowly devolves into desperation, as it becomes clear that Shane is afflicted with a disease that is shared by his ex lover, Core' who lives in the fabled city. As Shane searches for answers, it is revealed through Core's narrative that the disease is both sexual and cannibalistic in nature. Soon the story lines collide in a bloody miasma where the bonds of marriage are perverted to reveal a sobering reflection on the impact of the concessions we make for those we hold most dear.
Trouble Every Day has a palpable disquieting atmosphere that rides on Vincent Gallo's shoulders throughout his chilling performance as Shane. Denis and Jean-Pol Fargeau crafted the script, using absolutely insane compositions and violent imagery to annihilate the genre constraints on infidelity and blithe acceptance. In essence, the affliction is the desire to cheat, to consume the sexual partner, and the harder Shane tries to deny himself, the harder it is to resist his murderous impulses. The entire story is an analogy. The placid wife. The dangerous ex who burns through countless lovers waiting for Shane's return. Even masturbation plays a part in this lurid head trip, with Shane opting for self pleasure over tearing his wife asunder. One of the best parts of the story is how the old adage of hurting the ones we love is corrupted into an accusatory denouement that proclaims we make excuses for the ones we love and our acceptance of their salacious predispositions make us conspirators in their actions.
Beatrice Dalle's performance as Core' is unforgettable, if only for one extremely uncomfortable sequence. Christophe Winding's sound editing is a boon, making what would be a confusing mix of screams and flesh rending not only discernible, but terrifying, given the deep shadows of a Agnes Goddard's cinematography. Yes, there are sequences of over the top violence , but they are brief glimpses in between the darkness, using only the auditory pains of the victim to fill the gaps, thanks to some street level film editing by Emmanuelle Pencalet. One of the best scenes involves Shane on a subway train violating the personal space of another traveler. The camera remains so focused that the viewer can almost feel their own skin begin to crawl.
The amazing band Tindersticks does the soundtrack, creating a bucolic ambiance that offsets the danger throughout the urban setting. Despite the horrors, the truth that life goes on is undeniable, cementing the relevance of the title. Everything combines to form a lucid narrative that slowly ambles towards an unforgettable final scene.
Available now on Amazon Prime, Trouble Every Day is not for the squeamish. Featuring two particularly brutal sequences peppered onto a glacial marital dissection, this is a film that will instantly divide even the most seasoned horror fans. Lacking any formal sense of supernatural incursion, the monsters of Paris are real and familiar, embodying the absolute worst in the human condition. If you're familiar with the New French Extremity, you know what to expect, however if this is your first foray into the bloody depths, be prepared. This is an extremely difficult film with some rather alarming messages about the dirty truths of romantic partnerships.