Both Sides of the Blade may seem like a relatively conventional film for the unpredictable French auteur Claire Denis. A film about the domestic bliss enjoyed by happily married coupled Sara (Juliette Binoche) and Jean (Vincent Lindon) being strained by the re-emergence of Sara’s old flame François (Grégoire Colin) resembles so many middlebrow French dramas about infidelity and love triangles. It may prove to be difficult to believe the director of such distinctive, provocative and eclectic films as Beau Travail, Trouble Every Day and High Life would be behind it, but of course that would not be giving Denis the benefit of the doubt she deserves. As most cinephiles with even a passing interest in Denis’s work would know, Denis has a unique way of viewing the world and no matter the style of genre she is working in, the end results are going to be singular. Hence, despite the familiarity of both the narrative conventions found with Both Sides of the Blade and the various cast members – known for their previous work with Denis and so much more – the resulting film about love and desire is anything but ordinary.
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