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This movie could almost be an advertisement for the benefits of S&M. Almost.
The lead male character (there are no names given) is angry, very angry and misanthropic. He cannot contain his disgust for humanity anywhere, or with anyone. Despite his enormous wealth and political connections, he is a little boy, lost in the confusing world of adult relationships.
The only thing that can offer him pleasure, solace and temporary calm, is the lead female character's hard love. She's younger, shapely and pretty, and she knows what he wants. Although she won't give it to him until he asks, or infrequently begs, for it.
Sadly, there's little more in the movie than that. Laetitia Casta is gorgeous, and Benoît Poelvoorde plays the painfully angry middle aged man convincingly, but their motivations and back stories remain unknown. Perhaps they're in the book this is based on, and so those who have read it can fill in the blanks, but as a stand-alone movie it will leave you unconvinced, or worse, confused.
At least two of the bondage/sex scenes are well done, and reveal a certain understanding of such practises. And, to be fair, Laetitia Casta looks real good in the latex, and mostly convincing as the reluctant dominatrix.
However, you could isolate those intimate scenes and fast forward your way through the rest of the film, and you'd still have more or less the same grasp on the plot than you would if you watched it in full.
There is then some enjoyment to be had, if you're here for the bondage scenes alone. But as a drama, treatise on relationships (the original title is french for "a love story"), or exploration on the psyche of the bondage practitioner(s), there's remarkably little on offer.
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