"Trois Couleurs: Bleu," the first installment in Krzysztof Kieslowski's trilogy inspired by the French tricolor, falls short of the mystical perfection that characterized "The Decalogue," but boasts a riveting central performance by a carefully controlled, lovingly lit Juliette Binoche.
Dramatic tale of a woman who streamlines her life after surviving the accident that kills her young daughter and composer husband retains traces of the puzzle-piece serendipity that distinguishes helmer's most captivating work. But in this outing (as, to a lesser extent, in "The Double Life of Veronique") Kieslowski's French characters are watered-down icons compared to their Polish counterparts.
Like Wim Wenders with "Far Away, So Close," Kieslowski (along with co-scripter Krzysztof Piesiewicz and other credited hands including Agnieszka Holland) seems to be grappling witha diluted variation on his own greatest moments and insights, suggesting, as does Wenders, that all you need is love.
Post-accident, bereaved but businesslike Julie (Binoche) is determined to live anonymously and do "absolutely nothing," but when someone touches an emotional nerve in her, the screen literally goes blank and snippets of powerful music surge forth. It's a risky but effective device for blowing Julie's facade of indifference.