Year Released: 2001
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 78 minutes
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“Baise-Moi,” which literally means “fuck me” in French (though the film’s distributor is hiding behind the slightly less vulgar “Rape Me”), could not be a more appropriate name for this lurid exploitation film, for fucking is exactly what you get. Our pair of anti-heroines, occasional porn star Manu (Raffælla Anderson) and prostitute Nadine (Karen Bach), indiscriminately and unapologetically satisfy their carnal urges whenever they can, and directors Virginie Despentes (who wrote the screenplay, based on her own book) and Coralie Trinh Thi leave no detail to the imagination. When not literally fucking, the dastardly duo fuck people up, blowing the brains out of anyone (mostly men) who happens to disrespect them or stand in their way.
The most severe fucking, though, is given to the viewer, who is subjected to an insanely repetitive 77-minute display of pointless nihilism. Without the magnets for controversy that are its hard core sex and brutal violence, “Baise-Moi” is no more than a low-rent DV rehash of “Thelma & Louise,” but en français and without any sense of narrative direction or coherence. Once our pair is scorned (Manu by a rapist, Nadine by her brother, whom she kills), meet up, and hit the road, the film falls into a vicious cycle of fuck/kill, fuck/kill. The sex and violence is so plentiful that it doesn’t take long for the audience to be numbed to whatever shock value they initially have possessed, then making it quickly and painfully clear what an empty exercise the film is. The blood becomes a blur; the non-simulated fornication is also non-erotic and non-interesting. The only time the graphic sex is used to any real effect is in the early rape scene that sends Manu on her sociopathic way; the act of violence becomes that much more ugly and unsettling with its down-and-dirty details being shoved in your face.
The fearlessness Bach and Anderson have developed during their years in adult film serves them well here, and the two, especially Anderson, turn in performances that flout any traditional expectations about the acting abilities of porn vets. How unfortunate it is, then, that Despentes and Trinh Thi give them so little opportunity to exercise those fledgling abilities and instead make them go through some very familiar motions whenever possible.
Posted on June 8, 2001 in Reviews by Michael Dequina
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