Jean-Marc Barr is best known as a good-looking character actor who's appeared in a variety of films, from Luc Besson's THE BIG BLUE to Lars Von Trier's BREAKING THE WAVES. Who knew he was also France's answer to Larry Clark? His fourth directorial feature -- the third Barr has co-directed with Pascal Arnold -- is a polysexual murder mystery filled with pretty young people doing some very dirty things.
Removed from the rest of the world by the tight circle of male childhood friends they've gathered around them, beautiful young Lucie (Lizzie Brochere) and her equally attractive younger brother, Pierre (Arthur Dupont), are unusually close. Not only do they share lovers, like Nicolas (Guillaume Bache), who plays drums in the garage band Pierre fronts along with their other friends Baptiste (Nicolas Nollet) and Sebastien (Pierre Perrier), Lucie's current lover, they also share each other bodies. Alone in their bedroom, Pierre and Lucie lie naked together, their matching strawberry tattoos visible on their derrieres. Lucie comforts Pierre by telling him over and again how beautiful he is, and bathes him outdoors in a tin tub. They also have sex. Pierre believes "only a body can know another body," and that he's never fully "engaged" unless he's having sex. Pierre's pursuit of physical engagement has led him to cavort with lovers of both sexes and offer himself as a prostitute to older men, their friends and their wives. Considering their intense intimacy, it's not surprising that Lucie is inconsolable when Pierre and his motorcycle go missing. Their father died in a motorcycle crash when Pierre and Lucie were young, and she's been terrified that she'd one day lose her brother the same way. When Pierre's bruised and battered body is found dumped in a nearby wood, the bike nowhere in sight, Lucie falls apart. After a routine, inconclusive investigation, the police write the murder off as the work of a long-gone out-of-towner. Lucie, however, refuses to give up and begins her own investigation, first questioning a homophobic skinhead (Guillaume Gouix) who once threatened Pierre at a gig, then a much older man (Jean-Christophe Bouvet) who regularly paid Pierre for sex. She also seduces the cop (Mathieu Boujenah) who was originally assigned to the case, not realizing the answer she's looking for is right under her nose.
Based on a real-life event, the plot may sound like a parody of a French film -- remember "Les Cousines Dangereuses" in Arrested Development? -- but it's really quite an effective look at how young, romantic love without boundaries is not necessarily a good thing. Barr and Anrold intercut flashbacks of Lucie's life with Pierre with scenes of Lucie attempting to understand his murder, and it's a good way of invoking her crumbling frame-of-mind. The result may be a bit disorienting at first -- you'll have enough trouble telling one French beauty from another -- but the film works in its own peculiar way. While clearly not for the close minded, it's also not as salacious as one might think: While explicit, Barr and Arnold's treatment of all that barely legal eye candy somehow manages to avoid Clark's salaciousness and approach a far more acceptable lyricism.
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- Released: 2006
- Rating: NR
- Review: Jean-Marc Barr is best known as a good-looking character actor who's appeared in a variety of films, from Luc Besson's THE BIG BLUE to Lars Von Trier's BREAKING THE WAVES. Who knew he was also France's answer to Larry Clark? His fourth directorial feature… (more)