LOVE [2015]

Originally written for:

SALTYLOGO6

Love-Cartel-Oficial-e1459131922524

Directed by Gaspar Noé

Written by Gaspar Noé

Starring: Aomi Muyock, Karl Glusman, Klara Kristin


Master provocateur Gaspar Noé was sure to let the world be aware that he wasn’t intending on holding back with his newest film, with several NSFW posters floating around the internet before the film’s release. I’m not sure if they ever existed as actual posters advertising the film, as they are for the most part extremely graphic: one depicting a gooey fist clenching a rock hard boner. Whatever the case, Noé had people talking about his new effort long before it actually hit theatres.

At the beginning of the film, American filmmaker Murphy is in a relationship and feels trapped. Living with a woman is like living with the CIA, he muses. Nothing is secret. Through internal monologue we learn just how unhappy Murphy is, and after a phone call from his past, we begin to explore a past relationship between Murphy and his French girlfriend, Electra. Noé toys with different time-lines again and does it well.

Electra is willing to explore sexually, which initially leads to the couple having some fun with their new cute neighbour, Omi. But it doesn’t stop here; as the couple explore sexual boundaries and what their love really means, their relationship becomes frail and disjointed. What began as a way to get closer to one another is in truth driving them apart.

Murphy remarks at one point that his biggest dream in life is to make a movie that truly depicts sentimental sexuality. However his dream is just that – a fantasy – as within this film we explore all the dark corners of love and what can result from a truly broken heart. Emotions so powerful that events linger as permanent and powerful memories, or can cause a person to act completely out of character. The film portrays the complexity and potential dangers of high-powered sexuality and love extremely well, and as a whole this was a love story that I enjoyed – not something that I say very often.

Unfortunately, there a few major issues that prevent this story from truly resonating.

Perhaps the most important fact is that for a film almost dedicated to full-bore sex scenes, name-actors are out of the question. Realistically, who could Noé have used other than non-professionals? Karl Glusman, playing Murphy, had a small amount of experience, but the girls playing Electra and Omi are both new to acting. This all-round lack of acting experience hurts the film, as the characters either under-act or over-act, rarely hitting the target.

In addition to this, we have a very dull and lifeless script. There are a few memorable moments, but these are sandwiched between awkwardly delivered lines that defy the possibilities offered by the overall story. It is disappointing, and some of the dialogue is cringe-inducing:

Maybe we are not the great artists that we dreamed of. Maybe this is all just shit” is one example of an extremely underwhelming way to make a decent point. There is also a lot of internal monologue, most of which consists of Murphy complaining about his life.

Despite some experience, Karl Glusman as Murphy, is the worst one here, though this is almost certainly due to the fact that he is on screen for almost the entire film. He tries his best with the provocative material he is given, but his character felt as colourful as a black hole. In fact, there isn’t much to distinguish Murphy from Oscar, the main character from Noé’s last film. The two girls also feel very two-dimensional and forgettable, which isn’t surprising given they were working with a rather dismal script and had no prior acting experience.

This lack of powerful acting means that, apart from a couple of key scenes, all the sexual encounters and orgies that we see don’t advance the story in any way and don’t convey the honest emotions they are trying to. They are just… there, in the background. Lots and lots of screwing. How this thing remains under an ‘R’ rating I will never know.

Yes, Gaspar’s colourful visual style is here to be seen and these sexual encounters aren’t as repetitive as they could have been, but c’mon, I’m not watching this movie to watch porn, and most of these scenes seem there just to push boundaries. The almost total lack of charisma among the three characters doesn’t help any of this. And may I thank God that I didn’t see a 3D session of this film, as it of course has an obligatory vertically shot ejaculation scene, spewing its load all over the screen.

Love certainly has Gaspar’s fingerprints all over it, from the blink to black transitions that allow him to toy with the timeline seamlessly, to the ‘Love Hotel’ from Enter The Void sitting in Murphy’s apartment. Overall, I must admit I’m not entirely sure what to make of it all. Even though it has countless sex scenes and orgies that don’t serve much purpose, the narrative about finding true love and then losing it, exploring the darkest recesses of love and sexuality… it fascinated me. And as I have said numerous times, the French are great at this sort of thing. It is great to see a film exploring the concept of love in such a unique and dark way, as opposed to most films allegedly about love. But, it ultimately is riddled with too many flaws. I really enjoyed Enter The Void and Irreversible, but this, despite the PR campaign and all of the sex… it somehow feels tame in comparison.

2-and-a-Half-Pops

18 Comments on “LOVE [2015]

  1. I really admired all of Gaspar Noe’s other movies but not this one. Using non simulated sex was pointless because it was neither sexy or provocative, it was boring. If you want to see a good movie about falling in love. Watch The ‘Before’ series. This movie gives porn a bad name because at least that has much better acting then this. It’s hard to believe the main actor in this had been in other films

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  2. I actually quite liked this. It’s not as good as Enter The Void or Irreversible but o admire Noe’s bravery in pushing the boundaries of entertainment.

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    • Good to hear someone liking this! I haven’t read a ton of positive thoughts, but I agree you gotta admire the guy for going places that haven’t been explored yet

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review Jordan. I actually liked this movie even more than you and i cant say Im a fan of Noe in particular which is simply due to the fact that i think that his films fail to do anything ore than just shock the viewer and this was no less. Agree with just about everything you said

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, like I said, the sex was just…. there, almost never advancing the plot or having meaning. And that vertical cumshot shot…. man in the back of my head I knew something like that was coming, cos it was originally in 3D and all. But still, ewwww!

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  4. Great review Jordan, very fair assessment of an intriguing premise/concept but ultimately it felt too indulgent for its own good. Ahah yeah, even the poster itself is NSFW! I can’t say I’m intrigued by this or even the slightest bit curious. I’m not a prude but I just don’t enjoy anything graphic, be that violence or sex, esp when it doesn’t really serve the movie as in the case here. I can’t imagine this film being done in 3D, my goodness, even just picturing that scene in the first paragraph in 3D grosses the heck out of me!

    P.S. I reviewed an Indonesian film at MSPIFF that showed a clip of gay porn on the character’s laptop screen. It was only about 5 seconds or so but man I wish I could un-see that. Can’t imagine seeing stuff like that in an ENTIRE film.

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    • It isn’t like its a quick 90 minute job either. It was a damn slog to get through. Just so much goddamn sex, no number of people is too high, and yeah almost all of it serves no purpose. And goddamn the acting sucked!

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  5. On my scrolls through Netflix I stop on it almost every time I see the picture for it (the same one you have at the top of the page). I think about it, then move on to something else. One of these days I’m going to give it a go. The fact that you don’t know what to make of it actually might make me watch it sooner because now I’m even more curious than I was. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Dell! It is a real slog to get through, but so was Enter The Void. It certainly offers up something to think about, even if at this point it seems Gaspar is just doing this stuff to ‘push boundaries’. I’d be very interested to read your take on it mate

      Like

  6. I agree with almost every point you make here although, while you managed to find one or two nice things to say, I really couldn’t. I was just too turned off, not only by the bland acting and writing, but also by the depressing tone that made this impossible to enjoy even as guilty pleasure.

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    • Yeah I can’t say I enjoyed it. And yeah, talk about bland acting huh! A pity, Gaspar has talent but it is totally wasted here

      Like

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