In the sharpest pivot of his career to date, inspired by his own recent near-death experience, Noé swaps strobing scenes of technicolour depravity for a much subtler – yet no less nightmarish – study of human mortality in his latest feature, dedicated to “all those whose brain will decompose before their hearts”.
A retired psychiatrist with advanced dementia, played by French acting royalty Françoise Lebrun (The Mother and the Whore), lives alongside her husband, a struggling author with a heart condition played by acclaimed Italian horror director Dario Argento (Suspiria, Inferno, Profondo rosso).
The unnamed couple mutter to themselves as they shuffle aimlessly around the meandering corridors of their murky, cluttered Parisian apartment, visited only by their son (Alex Lutz) who is battling demons of his own and ill-prepared to look after them.
The predominantly improvised, exceptionally naturalistic performances by Lebrun and Argento, as a couple who cherish and care for each other but have become isolated through the degradation of their respective bodies and minds, are ingeniously captured through the use of the split-screen.
The result is a truly unique, transcendental cinematic experience that only Noé could conjure.
Greeted by a standing ovation at its premiere at Cannes, Vortex is a heart-wrenching, astoundingly beautiful and brutally honest tribute to the fragility of life that takes you by the hand and guides you deep into the vortex.
★★★★★ “In terms of scope, ambition and execution, its one of the finest pictures Noé has made” – The Guardian