Part crime thriller, part romantic comedy, Louis Garrel’s The Innocent shows the dangerous and outlandish lengths two men go to for the women they love. Garrel stars as Abel, an aquarium educator whose mother, Sylvie (Anouk Grinberg), marries one of her drama pupils in the local penitentiary, Michel (Roschdy Zem). Once on parole, Michel attempts to start a legitimate life but soon reverts to his old ways, eventually roping Abel into one of his schemes. Complicating matters is Clémence (Noémie Merlant), Abel’s brazen coworker, who convinces him to take part in the heist. Directing from a screenplay he cowrote (with Tanguy Viel and Naïla Guiguet), Garrel explores the comedic results of playacting’s intrusion into reality, as well as reality’s comedic tendency to transform us into what we never thought we could be.
Louis Garrel’s The Innocent comes to Blu-ray through Criterion’s Janus Contemporaries line, presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on a dual-layer disc with a 1080p/24hz high-definition encode.
The movie was shot digitally, and it looks it due to its subdued color palette and grayish blacks, but this is the look Garrel was going for (according to him in an included interview). Ultimately, it looks fine. Details are still reasonably sharp and clear, and there are moments where colors do pop (lights found at a karaoke club and a truck stop, for example). The encoding also doesn’t amplify any issues inherent to the digital source. This leads to a clean and stable image despite the grid-like pattern evident when zooming in on screen captures.
Again, it’s okay, just limited to the original photography.
Criterion includes the film’s original 5.1 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD MA.
The audio is sharp and clear, with ample dynamic range and excellent fidelity. The mix has its moments, with some music and background effects making their way to the rears, but it's relatively simple outside of the more action-centric climax.
Criterion’s new Janus Contemporaries line is very basic regarding overall design, featuring only a simple main menu, no pop-out menus, and no special features outside of what was already created for The Criterion Channel and a short essay in an included single-fold insert. Ported over from The Criterion Channel’s features are the film’s trailer and a 17-minute interview with Garrel, who talks about his father, filmmaker Philippe Garrel, and what led him to become a director himself. He then talks about developing the script for The Innocent and the advantages of working with familiar genres. He also gets a little into influences, which includes the Safdie brothers’ recent Uncut Gems. It was not all that insightful, but it was a decent introduction to the director, if nothing else.
It’s a “no frills” edition with a perfectly fine high-definition presentation.