Thomas est amoureux [2000]

Thomas in Love is an elaborate stunt, but as such things go, it's utterly ingenious. This film's action, set in a vaguely William Gibson-ish future, is seen entirely through the video monitors of a man named Thomas Thomas--whose face is never seen. Thomas suffers from phobias and hasn't left his apartment in eight years, so he interacts with the world via his "visiophone." We see everything through Thomas's screen as he talks with his therapist, his mother, and a variety of prospective female companions (cybersex is a big issue in this movie, as we see in the opening virtual sex sequence). The film's conceptual device might have become monotonous, but first-time director Pierre-Paul Renders creates a wacky futuristic look, and a couple of the performances are genuinely haunting (especially Aylin Yay as a sad-eyed government-provided medical prostitute). Even Thomas's grunts, sighs, and mumbles are endearing. This cinematic experiment succeeds. --Robert Horton

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