Review by Tom Swift
If you ever went through a dance craze when you were young, go bite the apple again with Eden.
This is a loaded name for a film, implying both paradise and rot. And if you’ve ever done time in the clubs, and even if you’re a wall flower, Eden will make you feel young — with a hero you know will survive his fall from grace. You might even be able to relate to his personal journey.
Now maybe periods of happiness were never meant to last forever, but being young and cool is “cool.” – whether you’re wearing a cowboy hat or a stocking cap. And when dancing is involved, you do feel like you’ll live forever – until your drink gives out or you haven’t done a line of coke in the bathroom for a while. Ecstasy is apparently everywhere. This is that kind of movie. Tea- totallers beware.
Here, our hero, Paul, 19 at the start, becomes the DJ of the moment for fifteen years on the Paris club scene, and for a while it seems like the party will never end. This is house , Daft Punk and Chicago garage music time. Riding the pounding rhythms of the musical wave, Paul tastes international fame, sort a.
But sooner or later, the scene will move on. You’ll become yesterday’s news. This near flawless movie takes you on this journey. And while you know Paul will be in trouble when he doesn’t go corporate, you love the fact that he’s true to his music and himself. Now if he only hadn’t dated that supermodel….
Paul will be able to take to his grave the fact that he was once fully alive and his corner of Paris moved to his beat. Yet he keeps his self-respect and the respect of his peers. And It’s a rare film that can summon up that experience. Just ask Iron Man about all of his personal regrets.
For his fifteen years of fame, Paul’s got the beat, a hot steady girlfriend, and a group of good friends – along with a trust fund and a mother who keeps him financially afloat. There are fantasy elements to this kind of story of course, but living this kind of lifestyle usually means spending your parents’ money. All Paul’s personal beats are played out with just this kind of honesty. You will know these people —- even if you’ve never been lost in a sub-culture like this, or never been actually cool or coolish.
Then there’s the heat on the dance floors. Wonderfully lit, the camera floats like just another dancer: you’ll be there — especially when the movie moves to Chicago and New York.
Credit goes to the first time director, Mia Hansen-Love, who based this story on her brother’s real life experiences. This movie thereby just feels real – much more real than an equally dance-crazy Saturday Night Fever, Flashdance or Footloose. Just look into the strobe lights and remember when you were carefree – whether you danced in a county western or a grunge dive bar.
The music and the club scene are the plot. Paul’s love life fills in the character beats. His well contained drug habit provides the jeopardy. Felix de Givry as Paul gives a great performance. The music selection is top notch.
Go feel young again and remember that you too have probably survived a hangover or two, and then moved on to have a happy family with two kids and a garage.
In theaters now and expanding to more markets over the next few weeks.