Thursday, November 16, 2006

Calvaire (2006)

This latest entry in the France Hates Everything Europe-extreme sweepstakes works best when it's flaunting its freaky, sadistic black-comedy side (the inexplicable 'dance' scene is a highlight), less so when it's actively trying to freak us out. And who the fuck knows what's going on with that ending -- it didn't work with Belvaux's On the Run and it doesn't work here, as the proceedings have been far too silly to support any sort of mythic pretensions. Still, there's a kind of shamefaced enjoyment to be had when the film kicks on all cylinders -- I mean, who doesn't love the idea of a sniveling Laurent Lucas in a dress and nailed to a plank of wood? Jackie Berroyer's blithe performance keeps the film on a useful keel, and I'll admit that the closing home-invasion sequence is remarkably effective even if it's a bit too overtly lifted from Straw Dogs. I think I liked this more than I really should, but we can only be honest.

Grade: B-


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