Published Sep 15, 2011Despite excellent composition and a wonderfully rendered blue-grey colour palette, French sci-fi admonitory Carré Blanc comes off as little more than a puerile undergraduate rant about the coldness of a smug, passionless and desiccated corporate culture of cruelty and inhumanity.
It's a standard soapbox for the genre, preaching to the target demographic of young males pissed that they have to obey the very rules created to ensure they maintain implicit power, which is fine, but it's been done with far more ingenuity and intrigue than displayed here.
Set in an unspecified future and alternate society, the state of humanity is one of rigid assimilation and apathy, where difference and disobedience are punished by death (sound familiar?). Ubiquitous loudspeakers play the same insipid elevator music, occasionally encouraging people to breed and/or play croquet. Everyone dresses the same and works for the same corporation, eating prefab meals and having the same mundane conversations.
In the midst of this, upper-echelon businessman Philippe (Sami Bouajila) tests his employees by offering seemingly impossible tasks, such as leaning flat against the wall and then backing up, patronizing them when they're unable to complete them. His wife, Marie (Julie Gayet), wanders around listlessly, contemplating suicide, mirroring the polar bear allegory that purports male dominance and assertion through violence, and death, if necessary.
Since the observation that men are socialized to seek power, while women are left subservient, isn't particularly fresh, the only thing of interest is the specified futuristic environments and aesthetic. The safety nets around high-rises and exact nature of roles – wherein automated voices ensure that employees repeat the same task on cue and waiters are murdered when they spill a drink – are really the only curiosity here.
If these concepts had an actual story or plot surrounding them this film might be worth a second glance or thought. As it stands, this angst-ridden admonition is little more than filler in an already overcrowded room. (Tarantula)