Baise-Moi

"Bad"

Baise-Moi Review


It's curious to see a number of provocative French imports find wide acceptance in the U.S.: notable examples being Catherine Breillat's Fat Girl, Patrice Chereau's Intimacy, and Sebastien Lifshitz's Come Undone. In the sexually graphic and aggressive Baise-moi (American translation: Rape Me), this tediously bleak and profane offering makes the aforementioned French dramas look like Disney fare. But whereas those films have a semblance of vitality and texture, Baise-moi is just an inconsolable assault on the eyes. Banned in France, this dispiriting film is based upon the controversial novel written by co-director Virginie Despentes. Baise-moi is a brutish and blunt examination of two young women's dastardly quest to exorcise their sexual demons and psychological duress. But co-directors Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi construct nothing more than a rambling, reckless, and exploitive flick that gets its kicks out of sensationalizing an otherwise needless tawdry showcase of hardcore sex and criminal intrigue. If anything, Baise-moi is an unfocused, tantalizing feminist knockoff that combines Thelma and Louise with the high-stakes hedonism of Natural Born Killers.

The film tells the warped tale of a couple of disillusioned, attractive femmes fatale named Manu and Nadine (former real-life porn actresses Karen Bach and Raffaela Anderson) who generate a perverse sense of pleasure through sexual and homicidal mayhem. The depiction of their downfall is gruesomely chronicled: porn actress Manu, a gang rape victim that has recently killed her boyfriend, hooks up with druggie Nadine, a fellow murderer who happens to have slain her roommate. Together, this raging pair hits the road and gets tangled up in the seedy world of performing carnal trysts with strange men they pick up casually along the way, emphasize that they are the ones running the show. After their carefree, fornicating fun is finished, the maniacal misfits discard their "playthings" by murdering them. Nadine and Manu feel empowered by their ravenous, dysfunctional behavior; the ability to take life and move on to more mischievousness feels very invigorating and strangely poetic to these sassy fugitives. In the meantime, the authorities are hot on their tails.

Despentes and Trinh Thi deliver an outlandish and relentlessly excitable storyline. They serve up a superfluous dosage of raw sex scenes that feature shots of penetration, dangling sexual organs, oral sex--all for a supposedly titillating, caustic effect. But with all the nonchalant raunch on display, the co-directors miss out on the opportunity to turn their vehicle into a commentary on the psychology of sexual politics. What could have been a high-powered feminist fable merely morphs into an outrageous and pointless art-house porno piece. One might dismiss the gratuitousness of the film, had it tried to grapple with something more cognitive, but it's too murky and charmless to work as a satire of feminine angst. As an off-kilter social statement that hints at the liberation of disenfranchised womanhood, the film never connects to anything imaginative or remotely engrossing. For a film that flaunts delicious-looking "bad girls," flashes an assortment of genitals every which way, and showers the screen with the occasional blood bath, Baise-moi is a badly executed and demoralizing fiasco that basks in its own abysmal shock value.

Although both actresses are intoxicating eye candy, their carnage-induced antics are never perceived as anything genuinely wrenching or disturbing--just tiresome at best. There's never an ounce of compassion generated for the women. The film's pivotal rape sequence should have been more instrumental in the way we understand this odd couple's turmoil, but that's obviously not the goal of the filmmakers. Baise-moi is simply a sheer manipulative and menacing bore.



Facts and Figures

Production compaines: Toute Premiere Fois, Canal+, Take One Productions, Pan Européenne Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

IMDB: 5.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: Karen Lancaume as Nadine, as Manu, as Radouan, Adama Niane as homme dans le billard, Marc Barrow as réceptionniste hôtel, Patrick Eudeline as Francis, as un viloleur, as homme dans le club échangiste

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