“Baise Moi,” which translates from French into “Rape Me” in English, is an oddball of a movie — if you can call it a “movie” at all, that is. The flick is controversial only in the sense that it shows hard-core sex in what purports to be a mainstream film. The film stars established European porn actors (so I’ve read, but I don’t actually know for a fact) and is shot with what I believe to be digital handheld cameras, giving the visuals a combination of grainy and amateurish quality. This in itself is odd to find in a film, but add the wealth of hardcore sex to the mix and the film is, well, a big failure. As a mainstream film, anyway.
“Baise Moi” really wants to be called the French “Thelma and Louise,” but besides its general premise, it has very little of the other film’s substance. After a brutal rape is committed against them, two female strangers go on the run, armed with a gun and determined to shoot anyone (mostly men) that gets in their way and have promiscuous sex with complete strangers. (Why are some men better than others? I don’t know, and I doubt the filmmakers do, either.) Men are shot to death for no apparent reason in most cases, and one poor bloke was shot because he was walking down the street and the girls happened to be on the same street at the same time. Of course the girls don’t just shoot men, they also shoot women who they consider whores to men — which is a little odd since one of the two killers is a hooker, and the other isn’t much better.
So what is “Baise Moi” really about? Is it about female independence? Female empowerment? Or as the Spice Girls like to say, “Girl power”? I’m not sure, but I highly doubt being independent and empowered means you have the right to murder people at random. Other than that, I really couldn’t tell you why “Baise Moi” was made other than to allow young boys and married men to purchase porn without saying they “bought porn.” (I believe Amazon.com carries this film. How’s that for “paper bag porn”?)
The acting is sub par, but then again one doesn’t expect any more or less from people who have made their living doing porn. The direction, from women directors Coralie Trinh Thi and Virginie Despentes (who also wrote the novel), is lackluster. As a result, the movie has the feel and look of a home movie. An expensive, and extremely gratuitous home movie, but a home movie nevertheless.
The movie itself had a very controversial run in France, the home of supposedly “open minded” people. Its heavy sexual sequences have given it an infamous reputation, and it is now showing in mostly art houses around America. Make no mistake, when I say “hard-core sex” I’m not referring to gritty simulated sex, I mean hard-core sex. There are insertions, ejaculations, and other “releases” one expects to find in porn. Just so you know.
Did the movie appeal to me on any levels? Not particularly. I don’t mean to be shallow, but even taken as hardcore porn, the movie’s actors are not, well, pretty. Okay, okay, this is bound to get me angry letters, but let me explain. When you turn on a mainstream movie, you expect good actors. That is, you expect professional actors like Meryl Streep and Susan Sarandon — re: not very attractive people, but very good actors. On the other hand, when you put on a porn tape, you expect pretty actors doing bad acting. That’s just the facts, folks.
So on that porn angle alone “Baise Moi” fails. What, they couldn’t get Jenna Jameson or Tera Patrick to do this movie? God knows those two have as much talent as our two stars in this picture.
Coralie, Virginie Despentes (director) / Coralie, Virginie Despentes (screenplay)
CAST: RaffaÃ«la Anderson …. Manu
Karen Lancaume …. Nadine
Delphine MacCarty …. Severine