French Highlights: Criminal Lovers

les-amants-criminels

Criminal Lovers (Les Amants Criminels, 1999) is a little hidden gem of a movie, a stylistic psychological thriller by director François Ozon (Swimming Pool, also recommended) that’s much better than its pedestrian title would let on.  The story begins with the murder of a classmate by two high school students, Alice, played with force by Natacha Régnier, and her boyfriend Luc, who has been manipulated by Alice to conspire in the act.  The couple then flee to the woods to dispose of the body, and — they hope — get away with the crime.

At this point the film takes a fascinating turn into a modern-day take on Hansel and Gretel, as the couple are captured by a creepy forest denizen who has a taste for human flesh.  I view their hellish entrapment by the hermit as a perverse dose of justice meted out upon them.

This film was not particularly well received by critics at the time, but I saw Criminal Lovers over a decade ago on one of the indie movie channels, and it still resonates with me.  The way the couple transition from sexually-charged criminals — on the run, but otherwise with the upper hand — into helpless kidnap victims parallels Hitchcock’s Psycho.  Criminal Lovers is a great, taut little indie thriller, and very French.  Only available on DVD.

criminal-lovers still

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “French Highlights: Criminal Lovers

  1. Pingback: Film Brief: Don’t Breathe | movies remark

  2. Pingback: Raw, Natural, Organic | movies remark

  3. Pingback: Lady Macbeth Doth Protest Too Little | movies remark

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s