Rutabaga (2018)

Adrien (Julien Botzanowski) is called to stay at a guest house and write an article on it. While visiting the guest house, strange things start to happen.

Director: Julien Botzanowski

Cast: Julien Botzanowski, Capucine Lamarque, Serge Barbagallo, Anouchka Csernakova

MPAA Rating: N/A

Fun Fact: A film from France.

Welcome to the start of my series of independent films from around the world. A while back I was contacted by a film distribution company from Australia asking me if I would like to review some films of theirs. I accepted the offer and decided this would be a fun project to work on while being home more often. Out of the list of films that I received, I decided to go ahead with the French film Rutabaga. The film is a suspense filled thriller that has some fantasy elements to it but leans more on the suspense and tension.

Rutabaga starts off with a bang as we get a high-tension moment from the main character Adrien played by director and writer Julien Botzanowski. Adrien and his girlfriend have an argument and then she leaves him. While I give them credit for creating a sub-plot to the film, the problem is that they really don’t explore this further. We don’t see the girlfriend character after that. It would’ve been neat to see a few cut scenes to her as the story progressed. If you see the movie you will get what I mean. This doesn’t break the film, it’s just an added touch that could’ve been interesting to look more into. After that it’s the meat and potatoes of the film, the guest house.

I like to talk about film techniques in my reviews. The technical aspects can make or break a film and its fun to point out what works and sometimes what doesn’t. For an independent feature like Rutabaga the production values are high. The music is super effective in building suspense and tension in the right areas. When the right music is playing during the film, I had a few edge of my seat moments. It’s honestly some of the best music I’ve heard from an independent feature. I wish there was a soundtrack to it I could listen to again. The house they chose to film the movie was also an excellent choice. It had a feeling of isolation and a hint of something that this might not be the place to be at. It also has an Evil Dead vibe to it and I always enjoy a nice creepy house feature as well.

Performance wise we get a nice blend of acting through the feature. There are subtle moments followed up with some over the top acting moments that reminded me of The Evil Dead franchise. Now the over the top acting moments are not horrible or anything, it just adds a little extra to the film. Director Julien Botzanowski does a fine job as the lead character Adrien. You get invested in what he needs to do, and he has a nice chemistry with Capucine Lamarque who plays Helene, who works at the guest house. The scenes they have together are well filmed and written.

Overall, if you like foreign cinema and independent films in general, I suggest checking out Rutabaga. It’s a well written film for an independent feature and has nice moments of suspense and tension. The music is some of the best I’ve seen from an independent film in quite a while. While some of the acting has its over the top moments, its still a fun watch. The more serious scenes are well filmed and directed as Julien Botzanowski had a lot of work to do and it paid off. The only issue I had was there was a sub plot that doesn’t go anywhere that they could’ve looked more into, but it isn’t a major issue to break the film. The film is available on Amazon Prime Video if you want to check something outside of Hollywood.

Verdict: Hit


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