Cortex, a french movie directed by Nicolas Boukhrief in 2008, tells the story of a retired cop, Charles Boyer, suffering from Alzheimer's who decides himself to be placed in a retirement home specialised for mental disorders. However, he starts to notice patients dying, but are his cop instincts wronging him or is he truly on the tracks of a killer? But would he even remember his investigation in the first place?
This all sounds very interesting and the idea is certainly a thrilling one. Although there may have already been thrillers where no believes the poor person aware of the killer, this one is slightly different in the 'forced institutionalisation', in the fact that the retired cop willingly goes into the home, albeit regretting it later. Although it isn't my favorite movie and can find flaws in it, it enjoyable and worth the watch. But writing a critique wouldn't be complete without elaborating the flaws of the movie:
Firstly, I want to talk about the Alzheimer's. It is clear from the first scene (Charles packing and his son driving him to the home) that the disorder is pretty severe, the character asking his son 'What disorder did you say I have again?', to paraphrase. At first, I suppose to show the effects of memory loss, we know exactly what it is Charles does not remember, but as the movie progresses, Charles wakes up more and more, neither he nor the audience knowing what happened between the two scenes. Although a good way to add suspense and fill out requirements for the thriller genre, we do not know what happens during these blackout even at the end of the movie.
Before I continue, let me explain something I noticed about movies. They can be in 'first' or 'third' person, just like a novel. There are, of course, many exceptions, but most can be classified as such. We either know only what the main character knows, usually seen in suspenseful movies, such as Rosemary's Baby. In can be guessed what the problem with the baby is, but we can only make guesses on what Rosemary sees. We do not see the neighbours plotting or performing a ritual. Then there is the third person, where we know almost everything. Like we are bystanders, or deities, as I like to think, and we merely watch, waiting for everything to collapse or fall into place, depending on the situation. There are too many films shown this way to name one, but and example of a plot would be knowing that the husband is cheating on the wife with his secretary, and simply waiting for the wife to find out, in this case bringing out the 'collapse' scenario.
To get back to Cortex, it is seriously confusing, because I have no idea in which person it is. At times it is one, the other, or both.
In all, I liked this movie, but was left disappointed at the ending. Even so, the movie itself is a good watch which I recommend on a casual movie night.