When the Cannes Film Festival 2021 announced that in its program there would be a film by Gaspar Noé starring Dario Argento.
whose plot would remain secret until its first screening organized at midnight, many accredited people began to look forward to the event. . Like it or not, Noah’s cinema is never banal, it always leaves something behind. Asking Dario Argento to be an actor seemed like the premise of a horror film with who knows what strange perspectives. The reality of things was actually surprising, but not in the sense that it was expected.
Vortex is in fact a film that is undoubtedly unique, but not for the horror plot from who knows what narrative turns or visuals. It is because it is a film with a very thin plot. It tells about the daily life of an elderly couple, he is a writer and film critic, she a psychologist with Alzheimer’s disease. We see them perpetually on stage on a split screen. They have a fairly conventional daily life made up of meals, dialogues, hugs, quarrels and medicines. Sometimes their son visits them, a former drug addict who would like to persuade them to move to a retirement home.
In its minimalist being, Vortex however has a clear and repeated subtext: it is the decay of the bodies, both that of the drug addict son and those, narratively much more present, of the two protagonists, bodies that no longer correspond to the commands, at least not as well as they are. he would. Despite the noble intent, the two and a half hours of Vortex manage to seem even longer than they are. The idea of shooting everything as if it were a home movie, as if shooting “badly” can immediately give the perception of intimacy (we are really next to the two protagonists) is really simplistic.
It is difficult to say if there is some other and encrypted reason behind this director’s choice, it is certain that we soon fall out of love with all the characters on stage, despite the apparent sweetness that two elderly people who are together and still love each other should arouse. Surely there are those who will find moments of tenderness in Vortex and will transform the depression that reigns in the film into a mirror of old age and reality, but it seems more the speculation of a spectator who needs to attach himself to something to justify the 142 minutes spent watching this concentration of nihilism that is the result of a work written and shot with passion and desire to tell something intense and profound. Amour , by Michael Haneke, which this film can somehow remember, is part of a distant and perhaps unapproachable galaxy.