Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sombre (1998)

Believe us, not the NYT.
Natalie:  So, Sombre [which we have to pronounce like an old Tex-Mex ranch hand instead of like a French speaker].
tracy What's French for really unpleasant and underexposed? 
Natalie Shit.
tracy Hah! And there was so much promise. A serial killer who follows the Tour de France? I'm into that. I like scenery. But the only scenery you get is a home movie of naked French girls. Which makes it sound much better than it is.
Natalie Or, I guess, "merde." Why/how do I know the French word for "shit"? I'd be into that, too. But the film has a huge freshman film 101 project problem of "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOH, I have an idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And another idea and another idea and another idea ad infinitum so we're just going to stick them all into one project without actually exploring anything." Ha! I bet there are a LOT of home movies of naked French girls that are better than this film.
tracy I think some films that were taken by a grizzly bear when it tried to eat a camera would be better than this. I HATED it. I hated the look of it, I hated the way it pathologized virginity, I hated the arc of the main character. It's like if they took Darren Aronofsky, surgically removed his talent, and made him shoot a movie blindfolded.
Natalie I'd totally watch a film about a grizzly bear . . .wait did that and it was better. I'm pretty sure the writing of this film went something like this:
Guy 1: Let's make a movie about a serial killer who likes the Tour de France.
Guy 2: Ok, but it's French so it can't be interesting.
Guy 1: Right. So let's make it an underexposed, can't see what the fuck is going on, film.
Guy 2: YES! That's totally brilliant and has never been done before, much less by a French Guy. I know! Let's also make it a thinly veiled Red Riding Hood story.
Guy 1: That's is the best idea ever. But I don't want the wolf--OH My GOD! we HAVE to have him be a puppeteer so he has an ACTUAL wolf costume!! We're so smart!
Guy 1: Anyway--we don't want our serial killer/wolf to be a cannibal so he can't actually eat Red Riding Hood . . . .
Guy 2: But we're French and "sexy" so he can "eat" her instead wink wink wink, because we're clever and think sex and killing people are synonymous, remember what we call a climax right?
Guy 1: Yes! And then Red Riding Hood can go all psycho and totally like LOVE the wolf because he's not expecting that and it will drive him feral. Like a Real fucking wolf!! Wow. This is going to be the best movie ever.
K. I'm done now.
tracy Heehehehe. Exactly. But the sex can't be filmed in a way that's inviting or sensually appealing, because see above. So it has to be the most awkward and nauseating sex scene this side of Pink Flamingos.
If the killer had been a vampire, I think I would have tolerated it. But as is? Get this weak sauce serial killer movie out of my face.
Natalie Ha! You'd think they could come up with better sex scenes at least. And it's such a half-assed film. They don't explain anything. Why/how do any of those women end up in his car? Why/how do the sisters end up staying at his house? Why/how do the sisters go from escaping in the car to being trapped (but not trapped apparently) in his house again? So it's like we have this magic serial killer who can glamour people. Again with the vampires; if the serial killer were Erik Northman and I could see what was happening, maybe.
tracy If the serial killer were Erik Northman and I could see what was happening and the girls weren't in it at all and it was just him competing in the Tour de France, I'd say keep it in. As is, au revoir, craptastic movie.
Natalie HA! That might be the best movie idea ever. So, yeah, buh-bye bad French film that destroyed all hopes that I might like more than one French film on this list. I'll happily trade it for Downfall. This one, by the way, was added in the 2005 edition that we both have in storage so we can't dissect the stupid reasons the editors wanted this one on the list anyway. Downfall is on the list for all of the reasons we discussed in that post.
tracy So it was this vs. Downfall? That ain't even close.
Natalie Yep. And, yeah, not a photo finish at all.
tracy I'm really, really glad it's over, and very, very excited for Being John Malkovich next week!
Natalie Me, too! I don't remember loving BJM but I do remember that I didn't hate it!
tracy At this point, that's a win.
Natalie And we'll be able to see what's going on.

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