Film & TV

French Film Festival Review: Moka

While privately investigating the hit-and-run death of her son, a woman entwines herself in the lives of the couple she thinks are guilty of the horrific crime.

While privately investigating the hit-and-run death of her young son, a woman entwines herself in the lives of the couple she thinks are guilty of the horrific crime.

Not content with the police examination into her son’s death, Diane hires a private investigator who tracks down the couple most likely to have committed the crime through their mocha (moka in French) coloured car. Diane then travels from her Swiss home of Lausanne, across the beautiful Lake Geneva, to the luxurious French spa town of Évian-les-Bains in search of the couple.

It doesn’t take Diane long to track down the possible perpetrators and she slowly begins to integrate herself into their lives individually so the other doesn’t know. As she weaves her way deeper and deeper into the couple’s lives Diane’s intentions appear to become much more sinister as her confidence grows that she has tracked down the responsible people.

The beginning of the film is at first confusing because the audience isn’t aware of the catastrophic event that has happened. Diane is merely shown escaping some sort of monitored housing facility to go see her husband and then the private investigator. This is where we begin to understand what previously happened and the film slowly starts to unfold as Director Frédéric Mermoud gradually presents Diane’s personal investigation into her son’s death.

The filming locations of Moka present a stunning backdrop to the murder mystery with rugged cliffs surrounding the beautiful Swiss and French villages perched above the sparkling blue waters of Lake Geneva.

Emmanuelle Devos masterfully captures the determination driven by the deep pain of a mother who has lost her young son and seen no justice through the police process. She shows the audience a woman whose life has lost its meaning, but whose determination to find some sort of justice is inspirational and understandable.

Nathalie Baye truly embodies the older wife within the couple, but it really is the developing creepiness of David Clavel’s role as her younger husband that makes you squirm when he’s on screen. As Diane involves herself in their lives, Clavel’s character’s selfish and deceitful ways begin to surface and his true personality emerges.

Moka is a well-paced, masterful mystery set in some incredibly beautiful regions of both France and Switzerland that is well worth seeing.

Reviewed by Georgina Smerd
Twitter: @Georgie_xox

Rating out of 10:  7

Moka will screen again on 23 April for the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival, which runs 30 March – 23 April 2017 exclusively at the Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas.

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