A woman disappears in the mountains of France – and it’s her death that links several people in the very dramatic French film ‘Only the Animals.’
The opening shot in this film is of a black man with a goat on his back riding a bike through the streets of Abidjan, but then the film quickly swings to France. But the goat scene is a metaphor for when, later in the film, a man (Damian Bonnard) carries a dead woman’s body, on his back, in the mountains in a trek to find her a final resting place. But who is this dead woman? Joseph (Bonnard) has not killed her, this plot point is shown near the end of the film, but it’s the journey to get there that’s extremely intriguing where we discover the link between these people. Alice (Laure Balamy) is a social worker whose job it is to go and check on lonely disturbed people in and around her area. One of her clients is Joseph, who she’s also having sex. Her husband Michel (Denis Ménochet), meanwhile is having an online love affair with photos of an attractive young woman Marion (Nadia Tereskzkiewicz) but in fact he’s being scammed by a gang of men in Adijban who scam him for a lot of money. But the woman whose photo he is sent by these men does actually exists, and coincidentally winds up near his village. Why is she there? Because she is tracking down Evelyn Ducat (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), a very well-to-do attractive woman she meets at the restaurant she works at, and they have a brief affair, but Marion wants more. But as the story winds and the drama and tensions builds up, we soon realize who the dead woman is, and how her death will change all the characters lives.
‘Seules Les Betes’ (‘Only the Animals’), directed and co-written by Dominik Moll, based on the novel by Colin Niel, is engrossing from start to finish. Each character’s thread is enough to give the viewer bits and pieces of the story, without giving to much away. It’s the intertwining of the characters lives that is so unique and clever. And the actors are all excellent, not a bad one in the bunch. And while a couple of the connectors between the people are a bit too simple for the storyline, ‘Only the Animals’ will keep you engrossed for all of it’s 2 hour running time.
‘Only the Animals’ is exclusively now available on Curzon Home Cinema:
Review by Tim Baros