Titane ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

During the first half of Julia Ducournau’s “Titane,” it’s hard to tell if you’re watching the most fucked up movie ever made about the idea of found family, or the sweetest movie ever made about a serial killer who has sex with a car, poses as the adult version of a local boy who went missing a decade earlier, and then promptly moves in with the kid’s still-grieving father. During the second half, it becomes obvious that it’s both — that somehow it couldn’t be one without the other.

Following the cannibalistic “Raw” with another ravenous film that pushes her fascination with the hunger and malleability of human flesh to even further extremes, Ducournau has made good on the promise of her debut and then some. Whatever you’re willing to take from it, there’s no denying that “Titane” is the work of a demented visionary in full command of her wild mind; a shimmering aria of fire and metal that introduces itself as the psychopathic lovechild of David Cronenberg’s “Crash” and Shinya Tsukamoto’s “Tetsuo: The Iron Man” before shapeshifting into a modern fable about how badly people just need someone to take care of them and vice-versa.

Alexia’s parents never really fulfilled either end of that bargain — least of all her sleazy father, played by “Nocturama” director Bertrand Bonello (who serves up enough withering face to see all sorts of intimate sins behind his blank expression). The first time we meet her she’s a pre-teen girl sitting in the backseat of her dad’s sedan and loudly revving her body like she’s a Ferrari. He gets annoyed, takes his eyes off the road, and the next thing you know Alexia is at a hospital having a titanium plate surgically implanted into her skull. “Watch out for any neurological signs,” the doctor warns her parents. Anyone who’s seen “Raw” will be cackling already.

~this review continues on IndieWire~