December 8, 2021

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Toxic: Netflix’s ASMR review

Strong enough to reassert its dominance every two weeks with a big hit “phenomenon” carefully managed by a wary marketing team, Netflix continues to distribute international independent cinema more or less quietly, between Squid Game and the other Bridgertons. After In blind spot , which is almost the only one we keep , the platform was released Toxic , another intimate fantasy film this time adapted from the novel Distancia with rescate . And like the feature films by Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman, this film risks marginalizing people.

While Netflix France offers titles that are a bit divisive around the edges and Netflix America’s perhaps the elusive title (Fever Dream), both inherited from local translations of the novel, it is indeed the original title, itself according to the text, that acts as a key reading for a story that is very This mysterious twist, whose twists are quickly identified by readers will not reveal the twists and turns. Distancia de rescate literally means “rescue distance”. This is the distance that the main character wants to avoid from his daughter Nina, in order to ensure her protection.

When Maria meets Carola and her quirky son, David, she comes to put her possessive instincts into perspective. And for good reason: his new friend is far less infatuated with his own son than he thought he was dead. Reluctantly vague, thanks to the etiole rhythm, narrative unstructured enough to sow confusion and sweet voiceover, the film revolves entirely around the distance these two women place between themselves and their offspring, a distance that never ceases to be tested. , especially during the inevitable last action.

From where the feeling of a closed door in the sky opens, Toxic opts for an economy of means and character, sowing only the slightest hint of the spatiality of its place and spreading it close-up without ever taking a step back on the ‘action. The feature film puts us between the protagonist and their child, even if it means expelling fathers, workaholics who don’t really care about their responsibilities, from this intimate environment. Literally peripheral, they keep their distance, leaving their poor friend (or former friend) responsible for staying within the reach of the kids, until a final ruthless plot takes them definitively out of the equation.

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Hence the film of mothers, showing their isolation, their psychology and their togetherness. The intimate setting even creates a certain sensuality between the two women, played by María Valverde and Dolores Fonzi, both frozen and disgusted with each other. The relationship they maintain with their children becomes parasitic in their friendship, even their romance, at the mercy of the narrative maelstrom caused by the fanciful elements strongly linked to their gender.

A vision of motherhood that would be interesting, almost touching, if the general aesthetic of the thing, so preoccupied with expanding the ambiguity of their relationship to narrative form, did not annihilate all forms of empathy, or even compassion. In the end, the music tries to chase audiences who are too far from their story with loud violins and only manages to add a layer of superficiality to the icy object. Because by choosing to wrap their audiences in soft dubbing, filmmakers and writers distance them from intimate stories, preventing them from engaging. Obviously, boredom quickly came to the tip of his nose.

Indeed, the substance of the feature film lies in the environment it represents, an environment that wants to be colored with the latent decay of child relationships to the point of completely destroying them. An environment that would reveal its true nature quite late and would complete the ostracism of the woman who was lost in it. The toxicity that contemporary cinema so loves to stage finally infuses every shot … or at least that’s what it claims.

In fact, the various biases he intended to spoil the mood navigated between a coy artistic decision and a lousy good idea. How not to think about this whispering voiceover, which seems to want to explain the plight of the protagonists, but which at this half hour just gives off a lazy ASMR atmosphere? A clear residue of attempts to bring back novel fever, the idea very quickly shows its limits, especially since the mystery that dialogue is supposed to bring is decidedly lacking in consistency.

In this case, the appreciation of the film will depend on the aesthetic cursor. American critics, for example, were won over by the general mood. But for others, deliberately boring photography overseen by the capable but capable Oscar Faura (a collaborator of thethe steps of Juan Antonio Bayona and Jaume Balaguer, after working with Alejandro Amenábar and Alejandro González Iñárritu) didn’t quite foul up an all-too-general setting to restore the rot. where he wants to bury us.

Therefore, there is only one scenario taught by the first minutes and a lot of time slips us to be careful. Perhaps this adaptation’s undeniable thematic ambition, nourished by its well-digested contemporary reflection, lacks a certain radicalism, a radicalism often absent from platform acquisitions. As it stands, in the absence of a strong implication bias, many service customers may not be involved in this lengthy experiment, too timid to avoid getting lost in the depths of the catalog. And less by lack of accessibility than by badly assumed conformity.