SAINT LAURENT Rating: NN
There are several moments in Saint Laurent, a biopic about the titular designer’s heyday, when director Bertrand Bonello feels like a perfect fit for the material.
Early stretches that show Yves (Gaspard Ulliel) commanding the seamstresses in his workshop or in a nightclub stalking a statuesque beauty he wants as his model are shot and composed impeccably, with a lustre that feels vintage. The cut and style of these scenes could have come from the designer’s decadent imagination.
Unfortunately, gawking at rarefied fabric can’t soften the ass-numbing two-and-a-half-hour endurance test that is Saint Laurent. Bonello commits to a fractured and abstract narrative with a collection of time-jumping scenes, so you can’t make out whether he’s even trying to build a story or character arc.
The focus on Yves’s drug addiction and sordid affairs gets tiresome and redundant – less swift catwalk, more slow crawl. The artistry peters out long before the couturier hits his 70s.
As Yves in his prime, Ulliel is all understated, graceful glances, purrs and piercing stares. While he stares, you’ll be admiring your watch. 151 minutes. Subtitled.