Take a Drink: for sex
Take a Drink: for drugs
Take a Drink: for rock ‘n roll (well, club scenes)
Take a Drink: for hilariously overwrought arguments
Do a Shot: for voiceover lines that feel like My Chemical Romance lyrics
By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) –
Gaspar Noe wants to shock you. In the case of, say, Irreversible, he’s pretty goddamn successful.
I watched it and I’m okay. No, really.
With Love, he tackles, well, ‘love’ in one sense. Yep, this is Gaspar Noe’s 3-D arthouse hardcore sex film, with exactly the plot you’d expect. A young (of course) filmmaker meets an art student, lots of sex happens with and without each other, and then come the fights and breakups. This is Noe, so they’re plenty of drugs and clubs as well.
Noe knows how to shoot drugs & clubs, as well as films that begin at the ending and end at the beginning in an, *ahem*, arresting manner. Also, if explicit sex is your bag, Noe’s got you covered.
Can’t say you weren’t warned from the start.
What really elevates this film, though, was Noe’s inexplicable choice to write his script in English. English is, at best, this Argentine Paris-dweller’s third language, which doesn’t just shoot his Before Sunrise aspirations in the foot, it blows it clean off. Why is this in the A Toast section? Because it saves the movie. It’s goddamn hilarious seeing sleazy drug dealer and MVP Julio calls someone a “neeedle deek” with all of the dispassionate coolness and lack of inflection of a young Christopher Walken, or barely-pro actors earnestly volley lines like:
Boy: “What is your dream?”
Girl: “You mean sexually?” *Thinks for a second* “Fuck with another girl?”
Boy: “This is also my dream!”
I cannot stress how much more bearable this constant source of comedy makes the rest of the film.
That’s because the level of Noe’s pretension is nigh unbearable. Nevermind he writes himself an on-camera blowjob scene a la Vincent Gallo…
Ask Gallo how that worked out for him.
… but yes mind the gradeschool emotions that seem like they were stolen out of a Trapper Keeper covered in Paramore and All-American Rejects stickers. The script’s so clearly a product of Noe’s personal relationship experiences that it’s hard not to shed a tear for all the women trapped in his orbit of the years. The main character literally screams “I am the one in pain!” after his girlfriend has the gall to break up with him when she founds out he got their 17 year old neighbor pregnant. The product of that liaison’s name? Gaspar, of course.
How about smearing some juvenile opinions on the grand topics of the day onto your Pretension Sandwich? Eating meat = Abortion? Yep, that passes the sniff test!
When you cast actors for what they look like naked (admittedly, good casting all around there), I guess you get what you pay for.
Unless you’re Steven Soderbergh, who can make a porn star look like an ingenue.
In the case of the female lead, he got some bonus acting ability to work with, but boy, Not Gaspar Noe is rough. Since this is a 100% Male Gaze Special, we get a lot of him, too. The icing on the cake? The character’s supposed to be American (yep, born in NYC), which I didn’t discover until he told us. While Noe’s dialogue is tough to work with, you’d think the kid could actually muster his native accent, right?
Perhaps the biggest mystery of this film is how a gifted stylist with full buy-in from actors and producers to go all the way with his sex scenes could shoot them so goddamn… boringly. I’ve seen Amish dresses pulled momentarily tight by the breeze that mustered more of a reaction than most of these mechanical sex scenes do. Maybe it’s the hilarious guitar riffs that accompany a few or the half-hearted way Noe tries to Cinemax things up here and there, but if you can’t make long-take sex scenes sexy, then you might as well go full on soul-crushingly realistic.
The most realistic sex scene ever put to film is between puppets. No, really.
Love is pretty freaking terrible at its stated goals, but is pretty freaking hilarious as camp. I’d say give it a watch.