Title: Criminal Lovers

Also known as:
Les amants criminels (Original title)

Year: 1999

Genre: Drama / Thriller

Language: French

Runtime: 96 min

Director: François Ozon

Writer: François Ozon, Marina de Van & more

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0205735/

Going on a crime spree starting with murder of a guy in their school, beautiful Alice and her virgin boyfriend Luc drives away from their town and dumps the body in the woods. The only problem is that someone has gotten rid of their trails back to the car and they have to stay the night in a boat. The morning after Luc finds a small cabin inhabited by an older man and their plan is to search his house for food as soon as he leaves. But the old man returns quicker than expected and catches them with their mouths full. He now locks them in the celler and a fondness towards Luc is growing.

Our thoughts:
"Criminal Lovers" reminded me alot of a film I like alot (that I might review eventually) called "Jimmy & Judy" in more than one way. Both being about a young oddjob couple in school that murders someone for whatever reason and have to leave, and both also end up with the couple meeting something more bad/evil then themselves. But "Criminal Lovers" manages to stay in it's own little world because it has it's own very unique twist to it. People often seem to associate killer couples with "Natural Born Killers" and that's getting a bit annoying, but I don't think I've seen it happen with this film because of how odd it is. Hansel & Gretel instantly came to mind when this film took a turn towards horror/exploitation, and I thought it was a cool twist for these criminal couple films. You can consider me impressed by this film as I went in expecting just softcore and some stupid horror-esque plotline but it's both intriguing, poetic, depressing and of bad taste.

My first thoughts when this film starting rolling and they (the couple, Alice and Luc) kill a guy from school in the shower, after Alice distracted him by seduction, was that the director had thrown in a completely pointless murder to get the movie going. I thought it was just one of those things that would set the couple on the run, and never saw a real reason to why they did it. Of course, until later in the movie. Let me take you there.. After they kill this dick from their school, they put him in the trunk and leave town. They rob a small jewellery shop to gather some money so that they will surive on the run, and then drive into the woods to dump their little victim in the trunk. The only problem is that as they bury him, someone is watching them. Later when they are heading back to the car they get lost because they can't seem to find their trails (Hansel & Gretel, anyone?), so they are forced to wander around in the woods. They find a river and a boat and decide to use the boat to sleep in and then look for a way out of the woods. The next morning Luc, the boyfriend, finds a cabin out in the woods where an old man lives. As soon as he leaves the cabin Luc runs back to Alice and bring her to the cabin so they can eat his food while he's gone. But the man returns to the cabin and isn't too happy about these two stealing his food, so he locks them in the celler without food or water. After some time has passed he takes Luc out of the basement and slowly he gets more and more fond of the kid. This goes to the point that he makes him sleep next to him and starts doing sexual things to Luc at night. Meanwhile Alice is still locked in the celler without food.

It's hard to explain this movie and make the reader understand that it's more than just a fucked up exploitation/shock film, especially with the man-on-man rape. But it's very interesting because of the issues that are apparent between Alice and Luc, as well as how the film constantly goes back to fill the blanks as to what has happened in the beginning of the movie. It also takes the time to explain why our lead characters are as odd as they are and it gives us a new angle on the whole scenario the couple is in. Not to mention the ending, which I must say fascinated me alot and gave off a very poetic fantasy-ish vibe to it, while still remaining just as realistic as it was through-out.

Going more into details about this film is pointless, it's just one of those films you should watch to understand. All the fascination aside, it's not flawless and shouldn't be thought of as a masterpiece, but it should be held much higher than the standard kidnapping horror/dramas. If you want to watch a filthy but justified film that feels like much more than just another attempt at shock and brutality, and more like a bleak and depraved tale for grown-ups... Look no further! Highly recommended to every fan of films of darker nature.

Positive things:
- The director of "Dans ma peau" has some writing credits in this film. A poem, to be exact.
- Turned out to be a really good film.
- I must say I loved the Hansel & Gretel route it took.
Negative things:
- Some things weren't very believable and took some of the realism out of it.
- Penises but no vagina makes me a sad reviewer.

Gore: 1/5
Nudity: 2/5
Story: 4/5
Effects: 3/5
Comedy: 0/5

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