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Steven E. de Souza
An examination of the malevolent London underworld with its despicable criminal underground. Ray (Mick Rossi) just finished an eight-year prison sentence after getting set up. Now he is back on the streets to settle the score.
Antoine is a social wannabe who drops an elusive aristocrat's name to get into an exclusive party. The name - Jordan - gets him whisked by two burly bodyguards into the office of the host, von Bulow, who won't accept Antoine's admission of lying, gives him $100,000, and promises $900,000 more when led to Jordan. Enticed by the money, Antoine, with the help of his friend Étienne, begins his search. He follows trails through Paris's night scene, gets beaten up and bitten, and meets Jordan's sister, Violaine. After a surreal night, he's hooked on her charms but leery of continuing his pursuit of Jordan. Von Bulow insists. Can he find Jordan, get his reward, and attract Violaine? Written by
Based on the novel by Tonino Benacquista, Les Morsures de l'Aube follows the misadventures of a ne'er-do-well whose unique brand of social climbing results in his pursuing, and being pursued, by gangsters, a very unusual pair of vampires, and a wealthy vampire hunter. Backed by hard-driving techno music, sudden violence and gunplay in a Tarantino-esque style, and liberal dollops of black comedy, the movie offers few sympathetic characters. Guillaume Canet's protagonist, while something of a boyish rogue-type, is often as violent as his pursuers. His best friend and closest ally, played by Gérard Lanvin, is a sleazy "photographer." The only character we encounter who is likeable from the start is Asia Argento's gothette vampire. Nonetheless, as our hero spirals deeper into the seamier side of the nighttime world he inhabits, his attempts to pull himself out succeed in giving the audience something to root for.
By presenting us with vampires almost entirely devoid of supernatural powers, who must use drugs to incapacitate their victims and guns or knives to kill, this film attempts what so many films of recent years have also tried to do; reinterpret the vampire mythos for a modern-day audience. That it actually succeeds for the most part is no mean feat, but the reversion to the usual conventions at the film's conclusion leaves a jarring taste in one's mouth. What has been a pretty decent gangster flick with some supernatural overtones suddenly tries to pass off a straight horror movie ending, and it doesn't work, not even if taken as a parody of those kinds of endings.
Too confused about what it wants to be in order to be a really good film, this is still a decent enough way to spend an evening.
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