A lurid, muddled vision of adolescent sexuality and the emptiness of lives in the bourgeois 'burbs.

In tyro scribe-helmer Geraldine Bajard’s “The Edge,” an attractive French doctor moves to a mysterious gated community where the spotty youngsters seem obsessed with sex, death and, before long, the newly arrived medico himself. The handsome, autumnal-looking Franco-German pic lists Teuton helmer Hans-Christian Schmid (“Requiem,” “Storm”) as one of its producers, but feels 100% Gallic in the way it grafts a lurid, muddled vision of adolescent sexuality and the emptiness of lives in the bourgeois ‘burbs onto a rites-of-passage narrative. Presence of Melvil Poupaud as the physician won’t hurt, but cutting-edge arthouse fare this is not.

Thirtysomething Francois (Poupaud) is the newcomer in the “Stepford”-ish building project where the well-off locals are a gossipy bunch. Their teenage kids, led by the cocky, lion-haired Cedric (Phenix Brossard), are possibly even more disturbed. They intimidate the doctor and play nighttime games in the woods that get increasingly out of hand. Underlying psychosexual tensions are more hinted at than shown, and even after a sudden death occurs around the halfway mark, the story’s disparate elements fail to cohere into a solid, fully comprehensible narrative. Acting is convincing throughout; tech credits are pro.

The Edge

France-Germany

Production

A Cinema Defacto, 23/5 Filmproduktion production, in association with the Post Republic, Digimage Cinema, Canal Plus, CineCinema, ZDF, 3Sat. (International sales: the Match Factory, Cologne.) Produced by Tom Dercourt, Britta Knoeller, Hans-Christian Schmid. Executive producer, Jamila Wenske. Directed, written by Geraldine Bajard.

Crew

Camera (color), Josee Deshaises; editor, Bettina Boehler; music, Mrs Good; production designer, Daniel Bevan; costume designer, Helena Goncalves, Jette Kraghede. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (Filmmakers of the Present), Aug. 9, 2010. Running time: 100 MIN.

With

Melvil Poupaud, Audrey Marnay, Hippolyte Girardot, Phenix Brossard, Alice De Jode, Delphine Chuillot, Elias Borst-Schumann, Susanne Wuest, Pauline Acquart. (French dialogue)

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