Acid, the hard-hitting post-apocalyptic thriller from Just Philippot (review)

Acid, the hard-hitting post-apocalyptic thriller from Just Philippot (review)

Guillaume Canet and Lætitia Dosch lead this disaster film about climate change, where the rain has become so acidic that it devours the flesh. Very successful, until the scenario begins to slip.

Leader of new French genre cinema since The CloudJust Philippot returns with Acid, a thriller about climate change that is much more sophisticated and ambitious in fantasy terms. Presented at Cannes out of competition in a midnight screening, the film tells the story of Michal (Guillaume Canet) and Elise (Lætitia Dosch), a separated couple, and their daughter Selma, reunited against their will to escape the acid rain that is fall on France. Staying in the open air is synonymous with death within a few minutes (water eats away at the skin at lightning speed), the little family takes the side roads to try to reach a safe place.

Post-apocalyptic road movie, Acid look for inspiration in War of the Worlds by Steven Spielberg and The road by John Hillcoat, with astonishing visions of the end of the world (the approaching storm; horses burned by the rain that gallop aimlessly; abandoned cars eaten away by acid…) as we seen too rarely in French cinema. Ultra intense, Canet and Dosch carry the film without any fault of taste. It’s a shame that the film fizzles out after an hour, when the screenplay begins to rely quite painfully on clichés of the genre (like this mother who refuses to leave her house because her son has to be dialyzed daily).

The characters then become static where the rain forced them to be constantly in motion, and the rhythm ofAcid takes a serious hit. Until a slightly cunning conclusion, which deserved to be a little more gripping.

By Just Philippot. With Guillaume Canet, Laetitia Dosch, Patience Munchenbach… Duration: 1h40. Released September 20, 2023

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