New To Blu: The Lady In The Car With Glasses And A Gun (2015)

Lee reviews the updated version of The Lady In The Car With Glasses And A Gun.

Scottish actress Freya Mavor stars as Dany Dorméus,The Lady In The Car With Glasses And A Gun. This film has an immediately recognizable style, unfolding like a love letter to Alfred Hitchcock. From the hilly terrain of Southern France (To Catch A Thief), the classic Ford Thunderbird (a popular car used in Alfred Hitchcock Presents), to Mavor’s singular wardrobe - a short button up and belted white skirt suit, which is reminiscent of Tippy Hedren’s now iconic green skirt suit, an outfit she also wore for the entire length of The Birds. The film has an equally Hitchcock worthy plot.  The story is a psychological thriller, and the secretary in trouble/on the run story line makes the aforementioned Hitchcock references all the more prominent. 

The Lady In The Car is a gorgeous film. It has a classic style, pieced together by director Joann Sfar’s specific approach at remaking the 1970 film of the same name. Beautiful cinematography, captivating shots, and unique angles and perspectives all paint a stunning visual experience. The story is strong the first half, an intriguing mystery that keeps the audience guessing, but it starts to pulls away at the end. The resolve is a bit disappointing, and isn’t as satisfying as it should be. It’s a slight let down considering the build up. While the ending doesn't have the dominate execution the film deserves, it doesn’t take away all that is good with this movie, and Sfar still manages to retain his consistent artistic approach throughout the film. 

Damn! This ginger knows how to drive!
It’s easily one of the best looking pictures this year with a soundtrack that is all over the map. The story unfolds to a variety of musical accompaniments; Italian western, '80s synth, and classic piano ballads are all represented in the film. Though the main musical theme of the film is ‘60s American garage rock. It's fun, but given Sfar’s attention to classic style, it would have been nice to see the vast catalog of music trimmed down to compliment the film with more consistency. Ultimately, it's really a personal preference considering the music does fit the scenes and doesn't seem out of place. My criticism again is complimentary to how great the film looks, the imagery and artistry displayed on screen. The supporting cast is strong, including Stacy Martin (Young Joe from Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac). Her performance is bathed in cold detachment. Although she has little screen time, her character is important to the development of the plot.

The Lady In The Car stays true to the original film, which is good and bad in its own right. It’s great to honor and pay homage to the original, but sometimes following a cookie cutter format is too restrictive when reimagining a previously adapted story. It’s a captivating film that deserves some modern progression. While it is a present day retelling, it’s refreshing to see some classic elements incorporated, and better yet, modern elements withheld in the film. Most notable was the lack of cell phones. While the original is an English speaking film produced by Columbia Pictures, Sfar’s updated version is French with English subtitles, giving the story back to its authentic roots, considering both adaptations are based on the novel (1966) of the same name by French mystery writer Sébastien Japrisot. Overall, Mavor is the most impressive. As the lead who dominates the film, she gives an impressive performance. While few compare to Hitchcock’s muse Grace Kelly, Mavor’s classic beauty and performance is easily the most admirable aspect of this praise filled film.


Lee L. Lind