Cinema is a visual medium. It is at its best when it adopts the technique of showing, not telling, a story. When I think of movies that have taken the choice of over-stylized shots, strange close-ups and over the top violence, icons like Dario Argento and Sergio Leone come to mind. Add to that minimalistic dialog and a dash of color, and we have a movie that seems to have come out straight out of the seventies.
Directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani bring us Let The Corpses Tan or Laissez Bronzer les Cadavres (2017) a story where a group of thugs have carefully planned a heist but getting away might not be so easy. As guests of Madame Luce (Elina Löwensohn) at her villa somewhere in South of France, they soon find themselves cornered as unannounced guests and a pair of motorcycle cops arrive.
In between the violence and the shooting, we have another story, or perhaps just the psychedelic memories of a madwoman. Don’t expect this to be quiet. There’s a little too much shooting in this movie, to the point that it’s impossible not to see it as a spaghetti western in modern clothing. Even the sun, the bright and inclement sun plays a part as everything seems bright to the point of blinding. When the action changes into nighttime we can still feel the heat of the coast beating down on everyone.
You would think in a movie with very limited dialogue and short introductions there’s a chance in hell for character development but we can almost hear the wheels turning as each character strives for what they want. Some want the gold, some just want to get out with their lives, and some are just in the way. Don’t expect to see every character gets what they deserve or have the perfect finale. The psychedelic episodes and the creative art house camera angles might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Unfortunately, that might also include fans of the novel in which it’s based.
One other thing it does well to the point of making you jump is gunshots. This movie does not turn it down. Every shot seems to ring in your ear. Everything else quiets down to a whisper. A shot in the distance ricochets and bounces on the rocks. Close-up gunshots are loud and merciless. Some people will have a hard time getting used to that. There’s a couple of scenes where it went from dead quiet to gunshot that left my ears ringing.
Recommended for fans of spaghetti westerns and 70s retro style films, which means that Tarantino aficionados should also check it out with just minimal reservations. The art house style of the camera work might annoy the pure action movie fans. Don’t expect Hollywood action or clearly defined good-guys-vs-bad-guys dynamics. Not every premise lands with full satisfaction, but there’s something honest about the raw delivery.
That will do for now.