Despite what some may consider a promising title, there’s unfortunately little to show for it in “The Blonde With Bare Breasts,” writer-director Manuel Pradal’s aimless intrigue about two brothers who steal Manet’s famous painting, only to have their plans foiled by a mysterious femme fatale. Like the helmer’s previous pics (“Marie Baie des Anges,” “A Crime”), this one is clearly a case of style over substance, the latter of which is so ephemeral and misconstrued that it hampers whatever pleasures can be had from vet Yorgos Arvanitis’ gorgeous location lensing. B-sized French rollout will be followed by scattered fest action.
Set on a riverboat reminiscent of Jean Vigo’s “L’Atalante,” and featuring a tattooed captain (Nicolas Duvauchelle) and his crafty younger sibling (Steve Le Roi, powerful), pic has plenty of elements — not forgetting the blonde (Vahina Giocante) and her breasts — to create a powerful and absorbing tale of a robbery gone awry. But Pradal’s script is far from developed, and his direction focuses on merely the sensual (and often senseless) details of a narrative that never gains momentum. Terrific shooting on the Seine feels worthy of another movie.