Direction: Veerle Baetens | Scenario: Veerle Baetens, Maarten Loix and Lize Spit | Cast: Charlotte de Bruyne (adult Eva), Rosa Marchant (little Eva), Anthony Vyt (Tim as a boy), Matthijs Meertens (Laurens as a boy), Charlotte van der Eecken (Elisa), Femke Heijens (Marie) | Playing time: 111 minutes | Year: 2023
Truth or Dare. We’ve all played it at a party. But such games can quickly get out of hand. It melts is about a kind of game that completely escalates during a sweltering summer with terrible consequences.
It melts, based on the book of the same name by Lize Spit, revolves around Eva. The story takes place in Eva’s past, when she was thirteen years old, and the present, where Eva is now a young woman in her twenties. In Bovenmeer, the village where she grew up, Tim, one of her childhood friends, organizes a party. Eva decides to go there to settle once and for all what went wrong during that summer.
Rosa Marchant is great as the younger Eva. You can read her emotions from her face. Marchant can say everything with one look. She clearly conveys the progression from an innocent girl to a girl who has seen too much. She is especially overwhelming in the scenes that reveal young Eva’s home situation. She conveys the loneliness that arises because no one hears or sees her fantastically.
Charlotte de Bruyne as older Eva is also great, but for exactly the opposite reason. Her face is like a mask for the emotions she tries to hold back, but still keep bubbling up. Her face is always hidden behind the collar of a long black coat. It seems made of stone, but De Bruyne still manages to make it clear how Eva still carries her youth with her.
The film is very claustrophobic. You never feel comfortable. The film switches from the present to the past, from an oppressive, sultry summer to a dark and cold winter. This alternation between past and present continues to build up the tension. Director Veerle Baetens cuts away during scenes every time you think you’re getting an answer. This keeps you curious and the tension never relaxes for a moment.
This also includes other atmospheric elements. The film music by Bjorn Eriksson is moving and increases the claustrophobic feeling. The camera stays close to Eva, especially when the film is set in the present. You hear her breathing and feel Eva’s tension in your own body. It melts never leaves you feeling at ease, which makes it an excellent thriller. There are no pauses for breath, because throughout the entire film you feel like something terrible is going to happen.
The whole movie builds up to that moment and when it happens it’s horrible. The film doesn’t let you look away and that is an intense experience. Unfortunately, the denouement in the present is not as strong and is less satisfying. It melts is nevertheless a gripping and intense thriller that will stay with you for a long time.
Also read our interview with director Veerle Baetens
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