Starring: Elina Löwensohn (SCHINDLER’S LIST ), Stéphane Ferrara (ALEXANDER ), Marc Barbé (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of), Hervé Sogne (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of), and Marilyn Jess (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of)
Directors/Writers: duo Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of)
Composer: No listed composer
Cinematographer: Manuel Dacosse
Editor: Bernard Beets, according to Wikipedia, but is not listed on IMDb, which has no one listed. Also, not familiar with his work.
Gotta admit, I do like me the occasional foreign film. But I swear to God I thought this was an Italian film. Why the hell did I get that in my head? Whatever, I’ve since been corrected, so here we go. The movie looks… very Tarantino. But then again, spaghetti westerns were a huge inspiration for filmmakers, thanks a lot 60’s, so I guess it’s only natural that we’re going to get a few of these every once in awhile. Very little of the story is really presented other than a ton of people getting together to kill each other over some gold, so my guess is, it’s going to be pretty fun, despite the not-so-impressive early ratings that I’m seeing. 6.1/10 on IMDb (as of 8/31/2018)? Not very promising. Still, not docking before seeing. Not going in with high expectations. Just entertainment value.
This is my honest opinion of: LET THE CORPSES TAN / LAISSEZ BRONZER LES CADAVRES
A trio of weirdos hiding out in the middle of nowhere are paid a visit by a group of well-armed robbers who have just stolen a ton of gold bars, who also have a trio of visitors; a mom, her son, and their nanny. Soon, a pair of local cops are brought on to investigate and get caught in deadly game of survival as it becomes a free for all in this nowhere desert home.
If my summary seems a bit lazy this go-around, it’s because… well, it’s probably true, but it’s also because I don’t fucking know what this movie was about. Quite honestly, I probably missed a lot. Not necessarily because I fell asleep, which has been an unusually frequent occurrence as of late, I am not okay with this happening, but I just couldn’t follow a single God-damned thing that was happening on screen. The sad part is, it’s not even because this foreign movie didn’t have subtitles. It most certainly did, and I still couldn’t understand. Ultimately, this movie isn’t my cup of tea.
If I were to take a wild guess, some film nerd’s probably going to tell me that it’s not about characters or story, that it’s all a practice of stylized visuals. With that in mind, yes, the movie is almost a master-class in that department. The visuals are quite stunning and I can appreciate those elements. It’s almost a surreal kind of beauty that makes its way onto the screen, and I admit, more of this should be made… or, maybe not because then the magic would dilute if too many pretenders threw their pennies in the fountain, but that’s not the point. The point is, when the visuals take center stage, it’s compelling. Also, the movie itself looks and sounds exactly like a movie made in the 60’s with only a hint of modern visual effects. As far as a technical standpoint is concerned, this movie deserves praise.
However, my personal praises end here.
If the movie’s only intent was to showcase the stunning visuals, then why throw in a story at all? Hell, even the story doesn’t make sense. As far as I can tell, shit just hits the fan and people start shooting at each other because… I don’t know, reasons, I guess. I don’t even recall the reason being the gold that’s hidden in one of the cars. They’re not fighting over that shit, they’re just shooting each other and that’s all folks. Is it supposed to hearken back to the grindhouse era of films where it’s just exploitative violence, female nudity, and shock value? There is, after all, a lot of gratuitous female nudity and two separate scenes of a female silhouette peeing on a dude. But even that feels shoe-horned in, rather than any particular artistic expression. Or maybe it is supposed to artistically express something, but it comes off as a pretentious expression of nothing.
Filmmakers, if your goal is to make a movie that is nothing but visual eye-candy, then go ahead and do it. Disney’s FANTASIA (1940) pulled this off and is now one of Disney’s most celebrated and arguably its most unique film, despite being a commercial flop at the time. If that’s your goal, to do something similar, then have at it. Go balls to the wall with that shit. While I won’t deny that some of the segments in FANTASIA did have stories attached, the story was complemented by the music and visuals; the perfect trifecta. However, that’s not what LET THE CORPSES TAN is going for. The story is essentially filler until the next cool visual comes up, and that’s not very compelling. As the story is what is mostly spotlighted, characters making independent thought and choices, it’s hard to get a grasp on what I’m supposed to be taking in. The characters are hollow and boring, the action is stale and not very exciting, so when the visuals finally crop up, it feels random. Also, doing the VANTAGE POINT (2008) thing by showing different perspectives during this specific hour and minute, or that specific hour and minute, is not as easy to follow as you might think. It’s beyond obnoxious and after awhile, I just gave up trying to care about who was doing what at “12h38”.
Overall, I think it’s safe to assume that I just didn’t get it. Whatever this movie was trying to get across, maybe it did for someone, but that someone isn’t me. It’s nonsensical story with bland characters with only a select few moments of wonderfully trippy visuals to break up the monotony. As a recommendation, I say this is a pass, but maybe fans of this style of filmmaking may get more out of it than I did. On that note, I will say, viewer beware. Finding this movie may be pretty hard, as it’s an indie, arthouse film, so it’s entirely possible that you would have to go out of your way to find it. Good luck with that, as well as with your experiences with the movie. But if you can’t find it, maybe a rental or waiting for it to stream would be the best choice.
My honest rating for LET THE CORPSES TAN / LAISSEZ BRONZER LES CADAVRES: a weak 3/5
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