by Greg Muskewitz
Only the French could deliver something as vulgar and filthy as “Baise-moi,” which in literal translation means “Fuck Me,” with the “baise” also serving as a placebo for “rape.”But within the context of the movie, it’s clear that the deux femme fatales want to be fucked, however much in a rapish fashion. And why is it that these violent sexual movies are directed by woman? Recall the veritable cinematic porno “Romance?” — that was directed by Catherine Breilliat; “Baise-moi” is co-directed by two women, novelist Virginie Despentes and (ex) porn star Coralie Trinh Thi, and similar to “Romance,” it features graphic shots of penetration. But unlike “Romance,” not only is there no motivation for the violent and repetitious sex, but there is no point to the story it is telling either. Two troubled young women meet up at a train station, each after committing murder for no arguable circumstance. (One shoots her boyfriend, the other chokes her roommate.) They buddy-up — again, for no good reason — and decide that together they can go on a murderous streak, rob people for their money and attempt to quench their horny sexual urges simultaneously, only beds apart. At first the neophyte murdering nymphos are awkward during the times of crime, but as they grown accustomed to it, they seem to find it addictive as one might with drugs, while the duo’s own addictions grow more detrimental along the way with drugs and alcohol as well. The lackadaisical girls have no plan, nor much motivation, but are compelled only to continue running in hopes that the police might catch up with them at some point. Despentes’ prevalence for rapid cut and violent humping scenes doesn’t fail to include a lot of crotch shots of both sexes, but she does tend to lose her composure often times when putting the demand on the actors to perform sexually — in other words, she’s a lot less demanding than you might think. And what she does favor, all of this maybe coming from the porno star’s first-hand experiences, are a lot of hung penises, bouncing and slapping sounds of flesh against flesh, and a pair of worn, poorly shaved vaginas. At whim, there are several okay-composed shots from the distances, maybe from the eye of a calm peeping tom, or the red tint that one might assume is a bid at stylization. Yet nothing is truly or beneficially achieved from it. It doesn’t serve to spice up this already cold and distant dish. Further detractions are denoted in the cruddy images, presumably shot on digital video, with grainy and wobbly being the constant adjectives used to describe them at their tamest. More excessive than the sex, and explicit, is the violence, the murders, the beatings. The exaggerated sound effects along with the matching visuals still don’t warrant this with much attention, and if its cause is to nauseate, it still fails. “Baise-moi’s” experience is not a comforting one, but it is a self-made riot that isn’t up to the challenge to genuinely displace, excite, inveigle or disturb — it only manages to disappoint and disgrace itself and those involved in front or behind the camera. It serves as no more than a meretricious exercise. The two lead actresses, along with willingly subjecting themselves to be exploited (at least a familiar demand from their past employers), don’t much look like they enjoyed the undertakings, either. Raffaëla Anderson, the prettier of the two, works harder to appear so callous and so tough by clamping her mouth shut and looking bratty, but comes off as being no more than a bit misfired; a young actress trying to enjoy an experience where her main talent is screwing. The other, Karen Lancaume (née Boch), appears bored and used, a poor choice visually for the role, but every once in a while there’s a flicker in her eye that makes you think she’s playing in a game. Both actresses are (former?) French porno stars. At least with “Romance” you could understand why the woman character did what she did even if you didn’t agree with it. There was a motivation and a psychology to it. The only psychology suggested here is through the violent, clashing sounds of the soundtrack, and that’s cliché no matter what country you’re from.
With Delphine MacCarty and Lisa Marshall. Despentes adapts from her own novel.Final Verdict: F+.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5405&reviewer=172
originally posted: 08/17/01 02:15:29