The Five Devils Movie Review

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The French writer and director Léa Mysius concocts a convincing witch’s brew with “the five devils”, but the result does not quite bring the desired power.

With his second feature film, Mysius tells a story about racism, discrimination, small-town provincialism and Homophobia, all in the seductive whirlwind of a supernatural thriller. There is also an element of time travel that raises as many questions as it answers. That’s a lot. His film features captivating performances – namely from the young actress from the center, Sally Dramé-while other actors are stuck with too little characterization. Still, she creates a persistent, secret mood and eye-catching visuals that are always worth watching.

Dramé plays an eight-year-old girl named Vicky, who grows up in the picturesque village at the foot of the Alps where her mother, Joanne (Adèle Exarchopoulos), was a champion gymnast and an all-round queen bee in her youth. Now Joanne goes through the movements that teach aqua aerobics to the elderly in the local swimming pool. Vicky is multiracial-her heatrelievers father Jimmy (Moustapha Mbengue) is from Senegal — which makes her the target of mean girls who bully her for her beautiful mane, push her around and call her “toilet brush”.”Still, Vicky is a confident only child who loves her solitude and spends her time collecting various objects in jars to evoke the memories that her perfumes evoke. She has an unearthly sense of smell, as we see in an exciting first sequence where her mother will blindfold her with a scarf and ask Vicky to find her in the woods. Dramé has a fascinating presence and a wisdom that transcends his years, but there is nothing cute or precocious about his performance.

 

The simple life of the family is turned upside down when Jimmy’s younger sister, Julia (Swala Emati), returns after a decade of absence. Her arrival also sends a wave through the city, where she is not only notorious, but also an Outcast for a devastating act she committed long ago. Joanne and Julia have had a tense tension from the beginning: between them is a story that explores “the five demons” in flashbacks. But even before that, Emati plays the character with the apprehension of a wounded animal. As for the man at the center of this connection, Mbengue doesn’t have much to frustratingly do; Jimmy is withdrawn and uncommunicative and nothing else.

But Vicky quickly discovers that she has a surprisingly strong bond with this relative she had never met. A hint of Julia’s clothes and personal belongings makes her faint and transports her to the past, where she can get a glimpse of her future mother, father and Aunt at crucial moments in their history together. It’s a cool concept that sounds like the premise of “back to the future”: who wouldn’t want to spy on their parents as teenagers? And yet, this structure has nagging flaws in its internal logic.

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