Unrated, 97 minutes In French with English subtitles
French psychological thriller "Stranger by the Lake" fails to shock
The new erotic French thriller "Stranger by the Lake" has a unique premise as it strives to be an unconventional erotic murder mystery. It can work well ("Basic Instinct") but usually does not (nearly anything with Madonna), and put the gratuitous, unsatisfying "Stranger by the Lake" in the "Not" category. Frank (Pierre Deladonchamps) spends his summer days crusing
for companionship at a popular cruising spot on the shores of a rural French lake. He meets and falls in love with Michel (Christophe Paou), an attractive
yet darkly mysterious man. Frank and Michel become the primary suspects in a murder by the lake but they choose to
ignore the dangers and instead choose to continue their passionate relationship. Directed and written by Alain Guiraudie, the erotic drama the mediocre "Stranger by the Lake" pushes the buttons alright, but generally the wrong ones. As with many films that fall into this category, it has a striking premise that's undermined by so much gratuitous nudity and sex (in this case full male nudity, and alot of it) that it should be categorized as gay porn than a mainstream French film. What's worse, it really doesn't add to the plot or storyline and director Guidraudie seems more concerned with the shock value than with subtlety, which is unfortunate since the handsome Deladonchamps is a fine actor wasted in this mess of a movie. Some intensity in the last act still doesn't add up to much, and Guiraudie seems to think it's fine that the characters choose love over morality itself. "Stranger by the Lake" had some potential with an unconventional story, but once the pants come off, it falls short. Not worth your time.