The Exterminating Angels

"Good"

The Exterminating Angels Review


In Jean-Claude Brisseau's 2002 film Secret Things, two women use their bodies and manipulative theatrics to get ahead at a sterile French bank, only to be flipped by a shark in a cornflake-crisp suit and a sharp tie. Ostensibly, Brisseau was being coy: Secret Things was an exercise in taboo that had the visage of breaking taboo. Following the film, Brisseau was brought up on charges of harassment by actresses that tried out for the roles in his film. Actresses accused him of pushing them to masturbate in front of him (and on camera) as a prerequisite for auditioning for the roles. He was later released with a warning and a term of probation.

Now, he attempts again to find what he calls "a relation to reality" in The Exterminating Angels, a believe-it-or-not dramatization of what occurred during the casting sessions for Secret Things and the emotional backlash felt after. Blended thoughtfully with radio transmissions of free-form poetry, the story uses Frédéric van den Driessche as a stand-in for Brisseau, here named François.

Often followed by two angels in black aerobics suits (Margaret Zenou and Raphaële Godin), François begins to cast his latest exploration of sexual taboos, being completely upfront about the fact that any girl interested will have to masturbate on camera for him. Dozens say no but one girl named Julie (Lise Bellynck), coaxed by one of the angels, agrees to the process. Two more follow, the last being intrigued after watching a public display of the audition process. They audition, tease, and attempt to seduce François and, finally, turn on him for betraying a supposed trust and bond they had with him.

Nothing if not audacious and borderline ludicrous, The Exterminating Angels finds Brisseau in decidedly more dangerous territory than Secret Things, picking at the stitches that held his previous film in such uncertain grounds. Danger never comes clean: Brisseau's purposeful clash in tone can drift from abstract to absurd without hesitation, creating an awkward, over-the top mood in the film's more erotic spots. This does not detract from the film's brute complexity, as one might assume. The Lynchian grandmother scenes forgiven, Brisseau engages directly with the director and his three beauties, giving the film a bewildering focus.

The level of the filmmaker's pomposity seemed a point of heavy arbitration at the screening I attended. Three seductive girls fall for an elderly director and sue him when he starts to back away from them? Hey, it's France. Self-aggrandizing aside, Angels has an imprudent fascination to its askew narrative and is, hands-down, the most blazingly erotic film to come along in some time. Whether or not Brisseau has successfully flipped his wig or not could be debated for months, but the extent of his success as a provocateur seems undeniable. The only question remaining: Can the modern man handle Brisseau's cup of tea? The answer: Dude! All-girl threesome!

Aka Les Anges exterminateurs.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 13th September 2006

Distributed by: IFC First Take

Production compaines: TS Productions, La Sorcière Rouge

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 48%
Fresh: 21 Rotten: 23

IMDB: 5.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Gilles Sacuto, Milena Poylo

Starring: Frédéric van den Driessche as François, Maroussia Dubreuil as Charlotte, Lise Bellynck as Julie, Marie Allan as Stéphanie

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Office Christmas Party Movie Review

Office Christmas Party Movie Review

Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman reunite with The Switch directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck...

Snowden Movie Review

Snowden Movie Review

Here's another remarkable biopic from Oliver Stone, who has used all-star casts and intensely pointed...

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review

This true story from 19th century America feels eerily relevant today in its depiction of...

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Advertisement
Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.