Stranger By The Lake

Summertime. A cruising spot for men, tucked away on the shores of a lake. Franck falls in love with Michel. An attractive, potent and lethally dangerous man. Franck knows this, but wants to live out his passion anyway.

An interesting French thriller set by an idyllic lake that doubles up as a gay cruising spot. It follows Franck, a young gay man, who spends a lot of time on the beach, and in the woods having random encounters with random men. The plot kicks off when he witnesses a murder, yet can’t help but become more drawn to the perpetrator despite knowing what he’d done. It’s a very interesting movie, and there’s certainly an influence of Hitchcock on proceedings, particularly films like ‘Strangers on a Train’, ‘Shadow of a Doubt’ and ‘Rope’ whereby the viewer knows what is happening and is gripped at watching the noose start to tighten round the characters necks. The director makes the choice to never leave the lake or the surrounding woods, making it as big a character as anything else in the movie – it helps to create an isolated feel in that we never see any of these men outside these secretive surroundings.

The one thing I will point out is the explicit nature of the film – it’s shot in the same way as Lars Von Trier’s ‘Nymphomaniac‘ with porn stars performing the real sex scenes, and a couple of bits did make me feel a little uncomfortable, but they are important for emphasising the film’s main themes of lust and danger. This is a superior thriller, tautly directed by Alain Guiraudie, and well acted by its relatively unknown cast. Recommended

Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Alain Guiraudie

Starring: Pierre Deladonchamps, Christophe Paou and Patrick d’Assumcao

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