"Despite some complaints about how the story played out, it is an enjoyable film"Sirena Film

When I think of a medium, what comes to mind is the false showmanship of someone like Derek Acorah, not the shaky quietness of Kristen Stewart. Olivier Assayas takes a character normally seen as a con artist and makes them natural. In doing so he also creates an intriguing dichotomy between the modern life of a high-fashion personal shopper and her private life spent in the more ancient fare of attempting to make contact with the ghost of her deceased brother.

“Credit has to be given to Assayas for not treating the audience like they’re stupid”

The worlds collide with each other in ways that cause major problems for her, leaving the audience continually tense and wondering what is going to happen or, in fact, what is truly happening. Honestly, it is an extremely original story. Despite some complaints about how the story played out, it is an enjoyable film.

Credit has to be given to Assayas for not treating the audience like they’re stupid. Not much is over-egged in this film. He abstains from using music throughout most of the film, leaving us instead to feel suspense generated from Stewart’s performance, as well as silences and everyday noises. This was especially effective in a long texting scene, where Assayas manages to keep the audience on edge throughout, helped by the physicalised nervousness of Stewart, whose fluttering fingers effectively conveyed the tension of what could have been a potentially mundane scene. Something as simple as a text noise or vibration grips us.

The film’s subtlety may be seen as one of its greatest downfalls – perhaps the film is not obvious enough? For instance, one of the film’s most significant characters is only seen in one scene, making the significance they later have on the story seem somewhat forced. However, this seems to be intentional. It leaves us to guess what is the real world and what is the spiritual. Such subtlety means that even after I left the theatre I wasn’t totally sure if what happened in the film had actually happened, although a moment at the end of the film, where Stewart looks into the camera and states what the audience had already been thinking, takes away the tension and mystique the film had successfully managed to conjure.

Probably not quite the follow up to Clouds of Sils Maria people expected, but it is again an original and gripping story. Some of the gaps in the story are fortunately filled by Stewart’s performance, helping to keep the film tense and exciting

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