Black Heaven (L’autre monde)
Film: Black Heaven (L’autre monde)
Director: Gilles Marchand
Writer: Gilles Marchand and Dominik Moll
This film begins some people swimming. They all jump into the water. We focus in on a young woman, played by Pauline Etienne. She looks at the time on our main character’s wrist watch; he is played by Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet. She realizes that she is late and that she needs to get home to clean up before her father gets home. They go into a room to wash off and they start to kiss. Leprince-Ringuet’s friend, Pierre Niney, tries to find them. While they are in the room, Etienne finds a phone. Someone called Dragon is the one who calls, but they do not answer. They find a mysterious, blonde woman who is beautiful and goes by Sam in the pictures on said phone; she is played by Louise Bourgion.
Leprince-Ringuet is interested in this woman. He goes through the texts while talking to Etienne on the phone. They learn that Dragon and Sam are supposed to meet at a church and it appears they met on something called Black Hole. Leprince-Ringuet looks this up and learns that it is an online gaming world.
The couple goes to the church and they watch Bourgoin sit in a pew. She is joined by Swann Arlaud, who is Dragon. They follow them to a hardware store. Arlaud goes in. Etienne follows him inside and ends up bumping into him. Bourgoin and Arlaud then continue on to a quarry, followed by the other couple. Leprince-Ringuet and Etienne make-out until they hear a dog crying. They search it out to find that Bourgoin and Arlaud are inside, with the windows up and taped shut. They are trying to kill themselves with a hose into the car that is connected to the exhaust pipe. Arlaud is dead, but they save Bourgoin. They also realize that there is someone watching them. Leprince-Ringuet takes the camera that was on the dashboard before calling for help.
Leprince-Ringuet works on painting his hallway with Niney and another friend, played by Ali Marhyar. Marhyar wants to take a break and they go with him to an apartment. Inside they meet with Franck Merenda. Leprince-Ringuet asks to go use the bathroom where he sees Bourgoin getting dressed. He goes to her room to listen to music when Melvil Poupaud busts in. We then learn that this is her brother and he wants Leprince-Ringuet to leave.
The three friends accept Etienne and Leprince-Ringuet’s relationship. He asks her to stay over, but her father, played by Patrick Descamps, won’t allow it. Leprince-Ringuet is torn though. He is enamored with Bourgoin, watching the film of her attempting to kill herself. He also learns how to play Black Hole to try to find her on there.
Leprince-Ringuet goes out to meet Marhyar and Niney at a party. Marhyar is hammered and playing a dangerous game of chicken with Poupaud. He asks Leprince-Ringuet to join him in the car with Bourgoin. They talk and we see that Poupaud is a jerk and controlling.
Etienne and Leprince-Ringuet don’t see each other as much. She calls him after work and asks if she can come over. He agrees, while he is playing Black Hole. He finds a way into Heaven, which is the tattoo that is on the lower back of Bourgoin. He thinks he finds her and Leprince-Ringuet agrees to meet her later that night.
Etienne calls her dad and lies about staying with a friend. They make love. Leprince-Ringuet gets up in the middle of the night and meets with Sam in Black Hole. They kill themselves in the game to go to the Black Beach. This is where Bourgoin and Arlaud wanted to go as well. It is there that Sam states that she will do something in real life for Leprince-Ringuet and he has to do the same thing. Leprince-Ringuet suggests she sleeps with him in real life, pretending that it is not the character Gordon. Sam wants him to hurt who he is married to.
Will Leprince-Ringuet and Bourgoin make love? Is Bourgoin actually Sam or is it someone else? Will Leprince-Ringuet continue to fall deeper into this lifestyle or will he get out before it is too late?
I have to say that I came in not knowing much about this film and was intrigued. What I like about it is that we never know who we are chatting or playing with in these online games. This one is even worse because everyone distorts their voices. The guy who teaches Leprince-Ringuet how to play game, even states that 2 out of every 3 girls in the game is actually a man. I thought the acting was good across the board and everyone played their roles well. The game even looks pretty cool. I thought the reveal gave way to something interesting as well. The story itself is okay and the concept is solid.
I didn’t have many glaring issues with this film. I was curious as to the reason that Marhyar went to see the shady group, because that is never really revealed. Also what are the odds that the guy he is going to see is with the brother of the person that Leprince-Ringuet saved? I also find it odd that it seems at the end that Etienne takes him back so easily, but then again, love makes us do crazy things.
With that said, I would recommend this film. It shows us the dangers of chatting online and playing games with people we don’t know. We can get caught up in it and try things that aren’t the best for us. I felt the acting was good, the story isn’t bad and the concept isn’t either. I will warn you that this film is French, so that is the language it is in. I had to watch it with subtitles. Other than that though, I thought it was good and worth a viewing.
My Rating: 7 out of 10