28 February 2014 | TidalBasinTavern
First half good. Second half not so good
It's almost as if the film-makers only had enough material for 25-30 minutes after which they told the actors to 'just make it up as you go along' because really that's how it seems. The ending is dreadful. Poor Charlotte Rampling, looks lovely but has nothing much to do beyond being neurotic. Michael Sarrazin somehow convinces as a Belgian police superintendent despite being an foppish Opera buff with an American accent.
The trouble is how ever I looked at it I couldn't shake the feeling that Mascara was just plain exploitative. Sure the rich men are exploiting their playmates, but I actually think it's more than that: it feels like the director set out to make an exploitation film. It didn't feel camp to me.
The location really does the film no favours. I could certainly see this happening in New York or Paris, but a sea-side town on the Belgian coast with it own very high-end fetish club? I don't think so. The faded seaside grandeur gives the movie an inappropriately wistful feel.
Some of the actors are dubbed with strange voices. I'm not sure what the aim here was but it just doesn't work.
There are few powerful scene - the opera ones for instance. In the first 25 minutes there is some sizzling dialogue. And the dress with it's illuminating heart is a very striking and novel idea. Those reasons pull my rating of the film to 5/10 otherwise it'd be a straight 2/10.