Who doesn’t like a little sex?
Murphy (Karl Glusman) is a film fanatic/student living in Paris for the time being, which he hopes to find him some sort of artistic inspiration to actually go out there, make movies, and do what he has always dreamed of. But obviously, he gets a little side-tracked by said plans when he meets the luscious and lovely Electra (Aomi Muyock). Though it takes some time, and plenty of sex, the two eventually fall in love and realize what can happen when two people fall desperately, hopelessly and madly in love with one another. Obviously, they have their highs, and they have their lows, but after awhile, it becomes clear that they may be having too many more lows than highs. In the meantime, though, we also focus on Murphy and his relationship with a fellow French gal, Omi (Klara Kristin), who is his neighbor and also happens to catch his eye when she gets invited to a threesome. Predictably, what starts off as just a simple moment of sexual, fiery fun, soon turns out to be something much more serious, where words, emotions and bodily-fluids are exchanged more than just once and it puts all three of their lives in a tailspin where they don’t know where to go, what to do, and just how to function if they don’t have a love in their life.
By now, it’s kind of hard to get shocked or surprised by Gaspar Noé. His movies, while bordering on excess, turn out to be the most outright in-your-face, dirty and naked things ever graced on the silver-screen that isn’t also called “porn”. Sure, could you say that a few of his movies could classify as such? Oh, definitely. But Noé himself feels as if he’s far different and in ways, better than that and instead, gives his various moments of sex and nudity, a story to work with and emotion. Regardless of whether actually work or are, for lack of a better term, effective, doesn’t matter because Noé clearly thinks there’s a distinction between his films, and pornography.
Although with Love, there really isn’t much of one.
What’s odd about Love is how personal it feels to Noé; with his past flicks, it seems as if Noé was just setting right out to shock audiences, without really caring about how hard of an impact his stories made. All he cared about doing was giving people plenty of nudity, sex and dirtiness to soak up in and wonder just how he put it all together. But here, it’s obvious that Noé has a story that’s close to his heart to tell and it’s a surprise, considering how little of the movie actually focuses on the emotion of that story, and much more on, once again, the sex, the nudity and the dirtiness of everything else.
This isn’t to say that Love finds Noé forgetting about his artistic side, as the movie is still quite pretty to look at and interesting, if only on a visual level, but there’s no real story here to work with. All it seems to be is a simple tale of one, dull American guy, getting wrapped up, literally and figuratively, in two French woman, acting like a general jack-ass, getting addicted to drugs, having sex, and that’s basically it. But because Noé frames it in such an unconventional way, with a non-linear structure that seems to jump one times too many, it’s supposed to shake things up and keep us on-edge as to where the story is going to go next, who’s heart is going to be broken, and just who is going to give us the next scene of full-frontal nudity. Of course, none of it’s ever actually interesting or compelling to sit by – it’s just boring.
And that is, perhaps, the biggest sin Noé commits here.
Say what you will about Irreversible or Enter the Void, though they’re both gritty and often times, disgusting, there’s at least something of a story tiding them along that makes all of the camera-trickery and general ugliness bearable – Love isn’t that kind of movie. Instead, we watch as characters we don’t care about or identify with, have sex, speak to one another about subjects like film, sex, love, relationships, art, drugs, and spend a good portion of the movie acting as if they’re reading every single line of the script, off the script itself. This isn’t to say that each and every actor here is a bad one, but considering that Noé actually met the two leads in a club, it goes to show you just what kind of issues your movie can have, if you don’t have the script, nor the actors to deliver ’em.
In Irreversible, the script was fine, if a bit obvious. But the reason why it worked as well as it did, or at least, held something of an impact, was because the cast was so great and clearly ready to dig themselves deep into this story, and all that it had to offer them. The actors in Love, are obviously not at all trained, which is fine, but the movie relies too heavily on them to carry certain scenes that are supposed to be engaging, smart and powerful. Karl Glusman gets a bit better as the movie goes along, if only because his character becomes more and more of a dick, that it’s actually entertaining to hear him rant and rave about such things like why America rules, even though he’s living in Paris and making friends with all sorts of French people, but other than him, there’s nobody else.
Nope, in fact, it’s just Noé himself who is the star here. It’s clear that he is from the very start and while he sure does love his nudity, his sex, and the way his characters yell and fight with one another about the meaning of life, love and God, at the end of the day, it’s Noé himself who gets the final word in on everything.
For better, but most definitely, in Love‘s case, for worse.
Consensus: Despite a deeply personal story from Noé, Love is nothing more than just another one of his excessive trips into random people’s bedrooms that we don’t really care about, or actually want to see get it on in the first place.
3 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire