Whatever (Extension Du Domaine De La Lutte) Review

Image for Whatever (Extension Du Domaine De La Lutte)


What better way to recuperate from all those summer blockbusters than with a good dose of existential angst? But, unlike last year’s Seul Contre Tous, this is a film about apathy and resignation, not anger and recrimination.

Adapted from Michel Houellebecq’s cult novel, Philippe Harel’s third feature has been attacked in France for failing to find a visual identity commensurate with the book’s clinical prose. But for those unfamiliar with the source, this comes across as a wryly misanthropic study of middle-aged, middle-class mediocrity. Harel gives a supremely controlled performance, laced with sardonic self-pity and a misplaced sense of superiority, and with its determinedly psychological focus and penchant for distracted navel-gazing, this exudes an irresistible melancholic charm.