The Woman in the Fifth
REVIEWED BY: Chris Patmore
RELEASED: February 17, 2012
Set in Paris, Anglo-Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski’s latest work can best be described as pan European, with a cast of characters from across the continent along with American Ethan Hawke as Tom Ricks, an author who returns to the French capital to win back the affections of his estranged wife and daughter. Ricks ends up destitute in one of the city’s rundown suburbs, where a small-time Arab gangster gives him a room above his bar run in exchange for a no-questions-asked job as a nightwatchman. When Ricks meets the enigmatic Margit (Kristin Scott Thomas), the pair embarks on a passionate affair that leaves Ricks questioning his sanity.
Nothing is fully explained, leaving us as much in the dark as Ricks, but Pawlikowski guides us through this mysterious world with visual flair to an ambiguous conclusion that is in finest tradition of European art house cinema.