Alleluia Review

The Plot

Smooth, sophisticated hustler, Michel (Laurent Lucas) meets his match when he tries to woo single mother, Gloria (Lola Duenas) out of her money. After she offers to stay with him and help him flatter other women out of their money, Michel soon finds that his new found partner in crime may be crazier and more lethally dangerous than he ever expected.

The Good

Alleluia begins almost like a pleasant romance as Gloria is forced into a date with a Michel after they meet online. But as act one (of four) ends, things take a sudden sinister turn and Duenas’ character makes an incredible transformation, quickly becoming barely recognizable as the unsure single mother she started out as. As each act progresses to the next, with Michel moving onto his next target, Gloria becomes increasingly unstable and deranged as she  struggle with having to watch the man she loves romancing other women.

Whilst Laurent Lucas is just as talented an actor as his co-star, his effortless seduction techniques are somewhat upstaged by Duenas. Together they make a great team, with the chemistry between the two displayed naturally. But when looking at the two main stars singularly, Duenas’ Gloria is surely the dominant half of their on screen partnership. Her conversion from single, insecure parent to controlling, powerful killer is performed so subtly and yet so suddenly, leaving the audience suitably sunned. Thinking back to the film’s opening scene will leave audiences bemused how things slipped so quickly and subtly into nightmarish horror.

Director Fabrice du Welz accompanies this beautifully, approaching the violence with a ‘less is more’ attitude for the most part, with emphasis on the ‘more’. For while violent scenes are relatively gore free, du Welz still manages to make the experience as shocking as possible.

The Bad

A few problems with the script does bring Alleluia down a touch. Certain scenes and events just don’t seem to have been thought out as clearly as they should have been. The major one being an out of the blue musical performance by Duenas as she serenades her lover. Although it manages to finish with a fantastic bit of dark humour, the scene still feels out of place and somewhat distracting as an unexpected and inexplicable sudden shift in tone.

Just as confusing is the way in which Gloria’s daughter is swept out of the story in one simple scene which seems rushed to some degree. Almost as if the writer had forgotten that the young girl couldn’t fit into the rest of the story at a certain point and so quickly went back and slotted in a few lines of dialogue without thinking it through.

As well as this, Lucas’ character development seems rather unrealistic in regards to his reaction to Gloria’s horrific transformation. This is partly why Gloria’s development feels so shocking by the films end, as Michel appears to let her get away with an awful lot before he even attempts to do something about it. And when he does wake up to the fact that Gloria is essentially sabotaging each and every hustle he tries, his initial attempt at solving the problem is so incredibly feeble.

The Ugly Truth

Lola Duenas is the undisputed star of the show, with Gloria’s psychotic transformation quickly proving the film’s captivating main attraction, as she dramatically overpowers the film’s supposed villain in every way. Whilst Alleluia is not without it’s odd and uneven moments,  overall it’s still an entertaining watch with some light touches of dark humour.


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