“Bon flic, mauvais flic”
They say, write about what you know – and writer-director Caputo certainly appears to have done that here. What better topic for the director of Pénétrations humides to choose for a police thriller, than the sleazy world of porn? Especially, when you can get adult legend Lahaie as your lead. She plays police detective Martine who finally manages to ensnare noted smut-monger Madame Wenders (Erlanger), only to find her gang retaliating by kidnapping Martine’s little sister and demanding the release of their boss. Making things even murkier, her boss (Modo) has a stalkery crush on Wenders, and her colleague, Valmont (Oudrey), carries a picture of the perp who shot his partner around with him. He is inclined to shoot first and ask questions later, and teases her about her reluctance to carry a gun. As the pictures here suggest, that reluctance doesn’t survive until the end of the film.
It’s all pretty implausible, and doesn’t exactly paint a kind picture of the French police, who are portrayed, almost without exception, as mad, incompetent or both – if it wasn’t for Martine’s informant, she would literally be clueless. However, Lahaie is always worth watching, showing much the same solid screen presence which I’ve previously enjoyed in Fascination. This isn’t as impressive, trading in the ethereal, other-wordly quality for a grubby and gritty urban approach that is never particularly convincing in its depiction. Still, there are some good moments, in particular an extended sequence where Wenders is released from jail, knowing full well the police will be tailing her. The cat-and-mouse game between them, leads to an explosive climax that was genuinely surprising, but the film doesn’t seem to know quite where to go from there.
Against that, there are too many scenes which make little or no sense, such as the one where Martine is attacked in a car-park, only to be rescued by a guy carrying a shotgun in his coat. Or her fondness for sitting in a luminescent hot-tub. While I’m not inclined to complain too much about either, there are times when you wonder if this is the policier version of Caligula, and there’s a three-hour version with hardcore inserts, lurking out there somewhere. I don’t think there is, but it has that kind of disjointed feel to it. Not the disaster I was expecting from some reviews, yet outside of Lahaie, there is little here to commend it to the view.
Dir: Michel Caputo
Star: Brigitte Lahaie, Dominique Erlanger, Pierre Oudrey, Michel Modo