Lemming

Showing at Varsity, Fri., Aug. 4–Thurs., Aug. 10. Not rated. 129 minutes.

Like Michael Haneke's Caché, this effectively creepy little customer from Dominik Moll (With a Friend Like Harry) fires yet another shot across the bows of French bourgeois complacency, while throwing in a wink and a nudge about the perils of surveillance. I like Moll's film better: For all its knowingly preposterous plot, Lemming is both less weighed down and less puffed up by its political ambitions than Caché, and Moll is far more amused by his own stagy atmospherics. In any case, who wouldn't want to be disrupted by Charlotte Rampling, even as the cathartically rude and predatory wife of an entrepreneur (André Dussollier), who barges into the seemingly tranquil life of her randy husband's employee, Alain (Laurent Lucas), and his unflappable wife, Bénédicte (Charlotte Gainsbourg). She's not the only intruder: Alain has invented a flying webcam that he claims can penetrate any interior and diagnose trouble; and a blocked pipe coughs up a decidedly unsuicidal lemming that nonetheless proves adept at bringing out a ruinously self-destructive streak in its hosts. Moll is exquisitely attuned to the way sound rubs up against silence, dark against light, and his shading of psychology into the supernatural is deliciously mischievous. Was it all a hideous dream? Does it really matter, in a hugely entertaining horror-comedy whose only unambiguous message is that you might want to think twice about unblocking your kitchen sink? ELLA TAYLOR

 
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