I Stand Alone

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

A savage foray into the twisted mind of a sociopath. Picking up where his acclaimed 1991 short Carne left off, Gaspar Noé's feature-length sequel finds his antihero, an unnamed, unemployed, 50-year-old horsemeat butcher (Philipe Nahon), living in a dismal northern French town with his domineering, pregnant girlfriend (Frankye Pain) and her mother (Martine...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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A savage foray into the twisted mind of a sociopath. Picking up where his acclaimed 1991 short Carne left off, Gaspar Noé's feature-length sequel finds his antihero, an unnamed, unemployed, 50-year-old horsemeat butcher (Philipe Nahon), living in a dismal

northern French town with his domineering, pregnant girlfriend (Frankye Pain) and her mother (Martine Audrain). An opening slide-show recaps the story thus far: Orphaned by World War II, the butcher grows up hating everything and everybody, then loses the only things he cares about -- his

butcher's shop and his mute daughter Cynthia (Blandine Lenoir) -- after he stabs an innocent man in the mouth. The butcher hopes his loathsome new girlfriend will make good on her promise to buy him a new shop; she doesn't, and one afternoon he explodes, punching her repeatedly and grabbing his

mother-in-law's gun. The butcher hitchhikes his way back to Paris, takes the same room in the seedy hotel where Cynthia was conceived, and tries to think of a reason not to destroy the world. Rarely since Taxi Driver has such a hopeless, misanthropic vision of the world been so clearly

articulated: That, even more than the film's physical violence, is what makes it so disturbing. With his bulging eyes blazing and three bullets in his gun, the butcher wanders the streets, his relentless inner monologue returning repeatedly to his favorite themes: We live and die alone; morality

is an invention of the rich; there's no purpose in life beyond sex; nobody in this selfish world really loves anybody else. Between Nahon's pressure-cooker performance and the director's assaultive style (he's fond of brooding long takes interrupted by shotgun blasts of lurching, skip-frame edits

and bold intertitles), the film would be an unbearable expression of rage, except that Noé's winking, nearly absurd sense of humor offers a disconcerting reminder of the unreality of it all. (In French, with English subtitles.)

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A savage foray into the twisted mind of a sociopath. Picking up where his acclaimed 1991 short Carne left off, Gaspar Noé's feature-length sequel finds his antihero, an unnamed, unemployed, 50-year-old horsemeat butcher (Philipe Nahon), living in a dismal… (more)

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