Director François Ozon's latest is certainly different from the mystery of his last picture, "Swimming Pool", which offered marvelous performances from both Charlotte Rampling and Ludivine Sagnier. "5 x 2" offers a basic, but interesting concept: instead of the usual drama, "5 x 2" portrays a marriage from the last, crumbling moments backwards to the beginning. The audience is shown five different sequences that illustrate how the couple - Marion (Valerie Bruni-Tedeschi) and Gilles (Stéphane Friess) - gradually grew apart.
The movie starts with the two getting a fairly quiet and grim divorce, going through the proceedings with no real emotion. The movie then skips back to the two making love, although what starts off as coldly indifferent turns to rough, as he starts to force himself on her when she wants to stop. The next segment has the two in the hospital awaiting an addition to their family, although his focus is definitely anywhere but there. A beautiful marriage ceremony and party shows the two in happier times. Finally, we see the two meet, not knowing what we know about where they're headed.
The film's structure could easily seem gimmicky, but the straightforward way in which Ozon presents the events of the film keep it feeling grounded. The actors also don't overplay their parts, which would have turned the whole proceedings into something of a melodrama. While a bit predictable as a result of the structure, the change from the usual is refreshing.
The performances from the two leads are also excellent, as the two actors give subdued, realistic efforts that turn them into believable, fairly complex (if not always sympathetic) characters. The two are also aged pretty convincingly and, despite the fact that their characters have some definite issues, the actors at least share some on-screen chemistry with one another. Overall, the film works as a touching, involving and troubling look at how a relationship can gradually fall apart, piece-by-piece, over the years.
VIDEO: "5 x 2" is presented by Thinkfilm in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality is excellent, as the image remained sharp and detailed throughout most of the film, with only a moment or two of slight softness. A very slight instance of edge enhancement was spotted on a couple of occasions, but otherwise, the image remained clean in appearance, with no print flaws, pixelation or other concerns. Colors were a bit muted, but looked to be accurately portrayed by the presentation.
SOUND: "5 x 2" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 (French w/white English subtitles.) The presentation is definitely dialogue-driven, with little else in the way of activity aside from the music in a couple of sequences, some ambience and other slight touches. Audio quality is fine, as dialogue and other elements sound crisp and clear.
EXTRAS: Deleted scenes, "making of", auditions and lighting tests.
Final Thoughts: "5 x 2" is a somber, but very well-acted look at the ups and downs of a marriage, but presenting it all in a way that ends with only us knowing the rough road that lies ahead for the characters. Thinkfilm's DVD edition provides fine audio/video quality, along with a couple of nice supplements.