DRAMA; 1hr 36min
STARRING: Kristen Stewart, Vince Vaughn, Jack O’Connell, Anthony Mackie
Looking-glass logic: Stewart
As 1960s New Wave idol and breakout Breathless sensation Jean Seberg, Kristen Stewart is impossibly pretty with her bleached-blonde pixie framing a delicate face. Their shared, effortless sheen doesn’t make either actress a pushover: Stewart’s fine-tuned performance is as forthright and aware as director Benedict Andrews’s JS is politically and romantically fearless.
Of particular interest to American authorities is the 30-year-old’s blooming love affair with Black Power drum-beater Hakim Jamal (Mackie), captured in breathy bedroom detail on an FBI COINTELPRO surveillance tape by diligently lurking agents Jack Solomon and Carl Kowalski (O’Connell and Vaughn). That both Seberg and Jamal are married—she to Yvan Attal’s understated Romain Gary, he to Zazie Beetz’s combustible Dorothy—isn’t the Bureau’s primary concern at first. The rabble-rousing Jamal is its numero uno target, which, by association, puts Seberg squarely and unluckily in its sights.
The overall mood is morose and the agents’ cloak-and-dagger almost entirely procedural and dull (which in fairness it most likely was in real life, but still...). And the supporting cast fares little better: with the exception of a guilt-strafed, infatuated Jack, and Beetz tearing it up in a humdinger showdown with her famous rival, they’re pretty much stripped of wriggle room. (As Jack’s largely slighted wife, Margaret Qualley, for one, deserves a damned sight better than she gets.)
But who cares about all that when Stewart and her fantabulous wardrobe take centre stage? Even as a paranoid Seberg comes unglued under pressure, her senses rattled and the tarnishing of her image a plaything for the Bureau, Stewart is a lustrous falling star.