Titane: The Best Movie Of 2021 You Haven’t Seen


Aiden DeMonte, Staff Writer

What does it mean to be one of the best movies you’ve seen? What does a film have to do, for it to stand out compared to all the others you’ve seen in a certain time frame? What does this movie have to compose of? What genre? What music? What actors? What director? What visual medium? What does it mean to be a truly great movie?


The best movies, to me, are ones that don’t just offer me a good time, but force me to think. With video content I watch, I want to be moved once it’s over and I want to be able to think and dissect what made it stand-out. When I finish a movie, I want to feel a very strong emotion of some kind, whether it be happy, sad, angry, or whatever. 


I could tell Titane would be on my watchlist when I watched it’s trailer before some movie in theaters. It did not tell me anything about the plot and it’s genre was ambiguous. The shots were quite strange at points, with strong neon colors, both intense and shallow actions, and the incredibly loud music blasted over the whole thing. The awards that it proclaimed alongside it solidified my decision that I was going to watch this thing. I stayed away from actually looking much about it online, I didn’t read the synopsis and I didn’t even really watch the trailer again all the way through. I just took a chance, snagged a ticket, and got in that theater. Leaving the theater was one of only 2 times this year where I have been genuinely left speechless after a movie. 


I’ll give a brief synopsis of the plot: 


Alexia meets a tragic accident in her childhood that sees a titanium plate being installed in her skull. It seemingly pushes her to prefer the car over her parents. As an adult, she performs at various motor shows. Following a series of unexplained crimes, a father is reunited with his son who has been missing for 10 years. Eventually, these two characters meet.”


To say anything more about what happens in this movie, is something that I don’t have the heart to do. The movie benefits from not knowing where it’s headed, as a lot of events are grizzly and bizarre. This movie genre-bends a lot. It’s best described as a thriller, with both heavy drama and horror elements. 


The main character, Alexia, has major issues finding good relationships with other people. It’s established in the first scene, and throughout the movie she shows a tendency to hurt the people she tries to get close to, in one way or another. The other main character, Vincent, is left to fend for himself in grief, as his wife is absent and his son has been missing for a decade. He can feel his body aging and his passion to live deteriorating. Both of these people need each other, and the movie provides them both an outlet to find comfort in each other. The relationship holding the plot together is actually quite heartwarming!


Despite my decidedly warm description of the drama elements in this movie, make no mistake, this movie definitely has some horrific scenes. This movie, while being my favorite of the year, is a bit of a tough sell, as it has a (rightfully earned) reputation of being incredibly gory and shocking! The director Julia Ducournau also directed Raw (2016), and she is not afraid of showing imagery that is equally insane and puke-inducing. It’s gory, not in a campy way however, instead in a usually realistic way. Even as someone who loves to watch horror movies and can handle gore pretty well, I did have to close my ears and even look away for a brief moment! What I’m describing may not sound like a positive to some, but I absolutely loved these sequences. Julia is able to successfully set up sequences with a very specific amount of intensity to them, they often have quite creative hooks to them, and while they may be hard to watch, she’s always able to keep your interest in what’s happening. It’s not just shocking for the sake of shock value! 


The technical aspects of this film are perfect all around too. Everyone’s performances are Oscar-worthy, despite the fact that they will not get nominated! The cinematography is truly outstanding, there are constant strong, neon colors that define an unique aesthetic when combined with the realistic ultra-violence, and the camera work is ever-changing in style, despite every scene being shot perfectly, every frame being meticulously crafted. Ducournau has made a script that somehow blends a heartwarming story of family with indescribable body horror, and it touches upon everything that I love about the art of filmmaking. 


I said at the beginning of this writing that I want a movie to make me feel a strong emotion. My favorite movies can emotionally affect me, and sometimes physically affect me too. The first half hour of this movie actually left me a little light-headed! I had heard whispers about it’s reputation, but I didn’t know how graphic the movie would get until I walked into that theater, sat down, and almost had to take a break during a certain scene! It doesn’t shy away from bodily harm, from both the external and internal, and the movie features quite a bit of sexual content too. The last scene is haunting, and left me totally dumbfounded. Driving back home, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I had seen, and 2 months later, I am still just as impressed as I was when I had that first visceral reaction. 


The main reason I wrote this all, is I really would love anyone remotely intrigued to seek this movie out. As award season is approaching, the movie won the Palme d’Or (hard to win movie award) and is nominated for several others. It’s also the French submission for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 2022 Academy Awards, which means there is a chance it could be up for at least one Oscar. Being a foreign language film, along with having such grizzly subject matter, means it will be missed by many people who aren’t in the movie-buff scene, and I want to do my part in getting this seen by as many as possible. A Blu-Ray release is currently scheduled for 1/18 of next year, and if you get a chance to see it before then, take it! I promise that you will not regret it, or at the very least you won’t be able to forget it.