Transfixed

  • 2001
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Thriller

Based on a novel by popular French mystery writer Brigitte Aubert, this unusual thriller is more notable for its striking transgendered heroine and the demimonde she inhabits than the clunky plot. Unlike many of her friends who turn tricks for a living, Bo Ancelin (actor Robinson Stevenin, who won a Cesar award for his extraordinary performance) makes her...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Based on a novel by popular French mystery writer Brigitte Aubert, this unusual thriller is more notable for its striking transgendered heroine and the demimonde she inhabits than the clunky plot. Unlike many of her friends who turn tricks for a living, Bo Ancelin (actor Robinson Stevenin, who won a Cesar award for his extraordinary performance) makes her living performing in a glitzy stage show at a Brussels nightclub. Born the biological son of an admired Belgian doctor (Marcel Dossogne) who's now being investigated as a suspected pedophile, the estranged, transgendered Bo is being pressured by Det. Huysmans (Richard Bohringer) to confront her father before a judge about the sexual abuse she once suffered at his hands. The confrontation proves traumatic, but Bo has other things on her mind: She's fallen hard for handsome hustler Johnny (Stephane Metzger), who recently moved into the apartment across the street. Johnny is little more than a two-bit gigolo, pimp and cokehead who sublimates his attraction toward Bo with violence, but even after Johnny sets her up to be bashed by thugs and breaks her wrist while beating her himself, Bo can't help but love that man. Besides, Johnny's fists are nothing compared to what her friends are going through: Several trannie prostitutes have been killed by a sadistic serial killer who's left gutted corpses all over the city. Huysmans suspects the killings are the work of deceived and angry johns, but they're too premeditated: The killer has been putting the victims' bodies into cold storage and mutilating them over the course of several days. Pryzuski (Stephane de Groot), a cop who was quite friendly with one of the victims, tries to bully Bo into revealing what she knows about the stranger who's been looking for Bo's best friend, Maeva (William Nadylam). Naturally suspicious of the police, Bo refuses, but soon regrets it. When she finds Maeva's dead body in her apartment, Bo not only becomes Huysman's prime suspect, but the killer's next potential victim. Aubert has a fondness for unconventional protagonists; her novel Death from the Woods features a blind and mute quadriplegic who, against the odds, solves a string of child murders. The mystery here isn't much — the denouement is a hopeless muddle — but the twilight world in which it unfolds is vividly realized. In the final analysis, however, the film is at odds with itself, trying to present transgendered characters as resourceful and tough as nails while the plot habitually reduces them to traumatized masochists and helpless victims.

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  • Released: 2001
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Based on a novel by popular French mystery writer Brigitte Aubert, this unusual thriller is more notable for its striking transgendered heroine and the demimonde she inhabits than the clunky plot. Unlike many of her friends who turn tricks for a living, Bo… (more)

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