Review: ‘Our Paradise’

Johns get a little more than the petite mort they ordered from an aging hustler in "Our Paradise," from wildly uneven Gallic actor-turned-director Gael Morel ("Three Dancing Slaves," "Apres lui").

Johns get a little more than the petite mort they ordered from an aging hustler in “Our Paradise,” from wildly uneven Gallic actor-turned-director Gael Morel (“Three Dancing Slaves,” “Apres lui”). Plodding drama about a murderous rentboy past his prime doesn’t seem to have more than one thing at a time on the brain, and often not even that; it’s never clear, for example, whether the man’s much-lamented advanced age — we’re talking mid-30s — is somehow related to his violent compulsions. Promise of a subtitled sexy time should nonetheless put some butts in seats at queer fests.

Colleagues tell the not-unattractive, in-search-of-work Vassili (Morel regular Stephane Rideau) that they have clients younger than he is. A professional collaboration with a young, angelic co-worker (Dimitri Durdaine) only sometimes does the trick and becomes more complicated when the two fall in love. Nonsensical subplots, involving not only murder but also a fag-hag acquaintance (Beatrice Dalle) and her kid son (Mathis Morisset), further dilute interest, though frequent full frontals might keep not-too-demanding auds hooked. “My Own Private Idaho,” this isn’t, however, with the just-average tech package delivering neither the grit nor the lyricism intended.

Our Paradise

France

Production

An Alfama Films release, presentation and production, in association with Rhone-Alpes Cinema, with the participation of Clap Filmes. Produced by Paulo Branco. Directed, written by Gael Morel.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Nicolas Dixmier; editor, Catherine Schwartz; music, Camille Rocailleux; production designer, Ze Branco; costume designer, Helena Goncalves. Reviewed at Pathe Cordeliers, Lyon, France, Oct. 6, 2011. Running time: 97 MIN.

With

Stephane Rideau, Dimitri Durdaine, Beatrice Dalle, Didier Flamand, Jean-Christophe Bouvet, Raymonde Bronsten, Malik Issolah, Mathis Morisset.

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