Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Exterminating Angels

Exterminating Angels (Jean-Claude Brisseau, 2007) [4]

It's hard to get people to pay attention to the message of your film when all people are going to remember is hot girls masturbating. Brisseau has always been a director that's going to push the envelope in terms of sexuality, but here he goes so far overboard that he ends up drowning his film. This treads some of the same ground as Secret Things, his previous film (which I happened to like). That film, however, dealt more with the issue of power in relation to sexuality and had campy elements that made it much more enjoyable to watch than this one. Exterminating Angels and especially the character of Francois take themselves way too seriously. Francois especially, since he acts as a vessel for these women to bring out their desires and taboos, which is just a little too convenient for what Francois is looking for. Francois doesn't say or make anything profound out of what he's doing; he comes across as being underhandedly manipulative and eventually, his transgressions (real or imagined) result in tragedy at the end. The only thing that really comes out of the film, mostly because it's repeated, is that Francois doesn't realize what he's getting into. The meeting with Julie at the end reinforces this idea even more. Besides that, Brisseau doesn't offer up anything more. The angels themselves appear haphazardly and don't take on any significance until the end. Brisseau aims for provocation and there's no doubt the sexually explicit scenes here will both intrigue and offend people. The real problem with this film is that there's a lack of anything worthwhile about the sex that's shown beyond titillation.

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