REVIEW: Stranger by the Lake

28 12 2014

Stranger posterStranger by the Lake” is a film for those who love deliberating why a shot was taken from a certain length or held for a certain time. All others need not apply, as it will likely appear as little more than a rarified gay porn film.  Though the displays of sexuality in “Stranger by the Lake” are not extended set pieces like “Blue is the Warmest Color,” director Alain Guiraudie manages to pack more graphic images into their truncated length.

At a lakeside cruising spot, which is apparently France’s best kept secret, Franck develops a puppy love crush on the Adonis-like Michel. This powerful attraction blinds him to Michel’s sketchy behavior, ultimately drawing him into a danger far greater than he had bargained for.  And that’s saying a lot since Franck even makes the ill-advised decision to have unprotected sex with fellow cruisers.

Those who stick with “Stranger by the Lake” will quickly get over the constantly exposed male genitalia, viewing it as merely the proper costume for the location, and experience a top-notch thriller.  Though the cruisers are physically naked, they do not bare their souls and keep plenty of secrets.  While the proceedings begin with the consistency of the lake’s controlled calm, they quickly spiral into an aesthetically masterful tale of intrigue and terror.

Guiraudie directs everything from suspense to sex scenes with a stringent precision that conceals as much as it reveals and suggests as much as it shows.  Those who can get over the sight of a penis will see one heck of a film.  B+3stars

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