starring Isild Le Besco, Ouassini Embarek, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Laurence Cordier
written and directed by Benoît Jacquot
by Walter Chaw Benoît Jacquot's homage to the Nouvelle Vague has a weird, emotionally-detached feeling to it, something to do with the fact that paying tribute to the French New Wave is, at its essence, paying tribute to a tribute. (Something to do, too, with the nihilism that has infected world cinema in the new millennium.) The story proper concerns a young girl in the Anna Karina mold (Isild Le Besco) who, fashioning herself a bohemian, rebels against her bourgeois parents, beds down with a bank robber, and gets abandoned in a foreign country before coming home to France to face the music. It's dreary when it should be, er, breathless, and obscure when it should be incandescent--enough so that the freedom our heroine tastes (sexually, parentally, financially) feels like a gathering storm without the surcease of sorrow that a good, clean cloudburst brings. A tout de suite is heavy without being weighty. Besides, the bank robber melodrama is hardly a genre in need of revitalization in the public mind (what is au currant in American cinema? The comic book film, perhaps? The Charlie Kaufman?), nor is, more to the point, the New Wave in need of a breath of fresh air. À tout de suite (which translates somewhat ironically as Right Now), then, is a film of a style and an inclination that fulfills no need, and ultimately does nothing to nourish the soul of the now. Originally published: October 15, 2004.