Screened as part of NZIFF 2003
“Ostensibly Demonlover is a thriller about a corporate mole, Diane (Connie Nielsen), who, in the course of trying to scuttle a deal between the multinational conglomerate she works for and the titular US Internet company, uncovers links between the latter and ‘The Hellfire Club’, a pornographic interactive torture website. Assayas makes the machinations and counter-machinations in this corporate world deliberately convoluted. Every last one of Diane’s colleagues, including a crass, amoral exec (memorably played by Charles Berling) and a manipulative personal assistant (Chloe Sevigny), seems to have a hidden agenda. Nothing is what it seems, motivations remain teasingly ambiguous, and the film’s air of tense hyperreality becomes increasingly skewed… Increasingly ‘improbable’ plot twists and puzzling non-sequiturs begin to pile up. What’s going on here? From its opening shots of banal action-movie mayhem playing on the video screens of a private jet, through its extended interludes of anime and Internet image-overload, Demonlover offers a bleak vision of modern, 100-percent spectacle-driven reality, in which CNN and porn are interchangeable… The reality Demonlover posits is a kind of video game, in which Diane is the protagonist – Nielsen’s cold blue eyes and composed, blank features perfectly mimic the look of a 3-D anime heroine, and each escalation of the action or narrative twist moves things to a new ‘level’. One of the most compelling and original films in competition [at Cannes], Demonlover represents a genuinely radical vision.” — Gavin Smith, Film Comment
Also starring Gina Gershon in a performance as eye-popping as Denis Lenoir’s digitally altered cinematography.