Frontier(s)

"Frontier(s)" is a 100-minute hemorrhage that doesn't bring anything to the operating table of torture-porn but more gore, cruelty and misery.

Can a movie be an adrenalin-fueled, blood-gushing thrill ride and still be as boring as dirt? Apparently. The French answer to “Hostel” and “Saw” — which is like being the French answer to rock ‘n’ roll — “Frontier(s)” is a 100-minute hemorrhage that doesn’t bring anything to the operating table of torture-porn but more gore, cruelty and misery. Which for some, of course, may be enough.

In a cynical maneuver by writer-director Xavier Gens to bring gravitas to the abbattoir, he links a right-wing French election victory and protest to a jackbooted Nazi living with his cretinous brood at a hostel on the Luxembourg border. The reluctant felon Yasmina (Karina Testa) and her nihilist Parisian posse have used the protest as a cover for a robbery, but all goes wrong — Yasmina’s brother is killed and when the fugitives get to the inn, they find lethal nymphomaniacs and hulking murderers who want to turn Yaz into a breeding machine for the master race. Already pregnant and brotherless, Yasmina is drugged, beaten, shot at, knifed, beaten, chained up, beaten, and has to use her fingernails to dig her way out of a pigsty.

Frontier(s)

France

Production: A EuropaCorp. presentation in association with Cartel Prods., Chemin Vert Prods., Pacific Films, BR Films, Canal Plus and Cinecinema. (Internationaol sales: EuropaCorp, Paris.) Produced by Laurent Tolleron. Directed, written by Xavier Gens.

Crew: Camera (color), Laurent Bares; editor, Carlo Rizzo; music, Jean-Pierre Taieb; production designer, Jeremy Streliski. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Midnight Madness), Sept. 8, 2007. Running time: 108 MIN. With Karina Testa, Samuel le Bihan, Estelle Lefébure, Aurélien Wiik, David Saracino.

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