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Retrospective Film Review: Luc Besson’s Les Aventures Extraordinaires d’Adèle Blanc-Sec

Sunday 04 May 2014
Words Darren Skene

It’s difficult to get a handle on Blanc-Sec, for in the raging white water of this kind of Euro Gaslamp-Fantasia, Luc Besson’s film crosses so many cinematic wakes, you can’t see Adèle for the trees.

I’ve always found Besson’s work, though uneven, to be thoroughly enjoyable however and Blanc-Sec is no exception; it’s kind of Amélie Jones and the Temple of Doom via Young Sherlock Holmes and if that hasn’t piqued your curiosity, I don’t know what will. Louise Bourgoin plays the titular Adéle, spunky, impulsive, cynical and always immaculately turned out, a thinking-man’s Lara Croft. The plot meanders and wavers in places but there’s enough giddy exuberance to carry it through its more archaic moments. Tonally the film’s a bit of an enigma too – there’s a Disney-like One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing vibe one moment, all Thompson and Thompson slapstick, and then accidental lobotomies-by-hatpins and nudity the next. I tend to applaud bolder genre-blending so this didn’t really bother me, although if you like to  compartmentalise, you may feel uneasy.

Being the first part of a projected trilogy (what isn’t these days?), and given the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to plot and spectacle, it’s hard to see where Ms. Blanc-Sec might go from here, but deliciously intriguing nonetheless.

Words: Ash Verjee