Saturday, August 20, 2005

Criminal Lovers (Ozon, 1999)

Francois Ozon's films are usually composed of elements that seem achingly familiar, but are sprinkled with a healthy dose of eroticism and given just enough of a twist to make the resulting product seem fresh and alive. In Criminal Lovers, Ozon uses the fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel, as his starting point; but instead of sweet, young children, it is two young murderers that find themselves trapped. And instead of food and sweets, the allure seems to be homosexual desire. What is noteworthy about Ozon's film is that the first half feels like something we've seen countless times before in other films (planning the crime, committing the murder, hiding the body, etc, etc.), but the second part of the film feels completely unfamliar. Ozon veers sharply away from formula and finds a resolution that is unsettling and strangely touching. Those who demand plausibility will probably be displeased; however, the film is certainly a journey, questioning our assumptions about how people react to each other sexually and leaving us in a state of satisfied bewilderment. Not as well acted or shot as some of Ozon's other work, but worth watching.



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