How to talk about Titane without ruining the experience? I can reveal the setup. A tween girl suffers a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. Upon exiting the hospital, she approaches the family car with an almost feral desire. We jump forward in time. The girl has become a woman, but the accident’s scar remains.
That’s all the plot I’ll spoil. For the first two acts, the film barrels down an unpredictable path, combining outrageous and uncomfortable body horror with neo-noir trappings. At times, it feels like scenes are missing. But it glosses over these logical failings with haunting imagery and an infectious feeling of narrative abandon. I loved it.
Until the third act, when it hits a narrative wall. Out of story, it becomes a waiting game for the big payoff. When it arrives, it proves just satisfactory, which after the preceding hundred minutes of bonkers insanity, underwhelms.
I liked this more than writer/director Julia Ducournau’s prior film, Raw. Free of a rigid narrative, Titane runs wild, exploring similar primal themes but with no hint of pretense. Consider Raw’s herd imagery, which felt reductive and easy to dismiss. Contrast it with Titane’s memorable sequence involving a Cadillac, which proves direct to the point of absurdity, yet its sheer originality forces engagement.