1 October 2015 | lazarillo
Pretty effective French thriller
This French movie has a VERY familiar French-movie plot of a precocious teenage girl seducing a middle-age married man. That is really just a jumping-off point as the movie is told from three different perspectives--the man, the girl, and the man's wife--and a very different story eventually emerges. The multiple POV device is hardly new, but goes all the way back to "Citizen Kane", "Rashomon", and Stanley Kubrick's "The Killing", but it has been used most recently and famously in films like "Pulp Fiction". It doesn't always work and at times does little than make a film insufferably pretentious, but it does work here for the most part. Rather than the three stories contradicting each other (a la "Rashomon") the stories here are more like different puzzle pieces out of which the REAL story eventually emerges. It becomes obvious eventually that the wife and the girl have some kind of previous relationship even though it's not revealed until the very end.
Agnes Delchair, who plays the wife is the best actor in the movie, but she unfortunately stays rather opaque and mysterious until the end of the movie and her back story ends up being kind of rushed and includes her having an unnecessary relationship with the girl's jackass boyfriend. Guillemette Barioz fares better as the young seducer. Her character is a university-age "teen" seducer as opposed to the more perverse young teen seducer suggested by the lurid promotional materials, and the actress looks mature even for a university student. Her character goes through several interesting changes from a seemingly hapless waif to a sociopathic schemer, and finally to a character who is sympathetic but for an entirely different reason. She also has some nice nude/sex scenes, but for some reason, they take place in HER story whereas you'd think the sex would be much more memorable for the older man and appear in HIS story. Unlike with most young girls in movies like this, she does at least have a MOTIVE for getting sexually involved with a much older man.
Jean-Francois Garread, who plays the husband, is a pretty hapless and uninteresting character who is closer to elderly than middle-aged (his wife is already a much younger woman). The movie would definitely have been improved by a stronger and younger actor in this role, like say Mathieu Americ. Swann Artaud, who plays the abusive boyfriend and fourth character is flat-out miscast since he's skinny and effete and frankly Barioz looks like she could eat him for breakfast and pick her teeth with his bones afterward. This role would have benefited greatly from a scary thug as opposed to the typical French pretty-boy. Still, despite some miscasting and rushed reveals of the last story, this is pretty effective overall.