Exterminating Angels - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Exterminating Angels Reviews

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October 10, 2014
Very explicit film in many ways... can't really say that I liked it or didn't, there were equally many parts of both sides, but all in all it is to artsy in its expression for me.
April 4, 2014
Les Anges Exterminateurs (Exterminating Angels) (Jean-Claude Brisseau, 2006)

I had entirely forgotten, until something on the IMDB boards nudged my memory, that I had watched-and not been entirely thrilled with-one of Jean-Claude Brisseau's earlier pictures, Choses Secrétes, back in 2008. There is a great deal of conjecture on the IMDB message boards that Les Anges Exterminateurs is Brisseau's response to charges of harassment filed against him during the making of that film. (I also saw allegations that similar charges were filed against him during the making of this one, but found no verification for this.) While my research, ragtag as it was, was able to neither confirm nor deny any of this, it can't be denied that this movie feels autobiographical, but then you have to take into account that any film a filmmaker makes about a filmmaker making a film is going to feel autobiographical, especially when the filmmaker in the film is making the kind of film the real-life filmmaker makes. Now, go back and try to say all that five times fast. In one breath.

Plot: a director, François (A Tale of Winter's Frédéric van den Dreissche), sets out to make a new film. (We think, anyway.) He begins interviewing actresses and, in these interviews, pushes them farther and farther erotically. Is he really interested, as he tells them, in pushing the boundaries of the erotic, or is he just getting a thrill from watching them play with themselves (and, sometimes, each other)? Eventually, he starts focusing on two of the women, Charlotte (Au milieu de la Nuit's Maroussia Dubreuil) and Julie (The Girl from Nowhere's Lisa Bellynck). But then... what does his wife (Saint-Jacques...La Mecque's Marie Allan) think about all this?

It continues to amaze me that people can make porn films-or, in this case, films that border on porn without ever quite getting there-and still manage to have the final product be a bore. It would be easy (and accurate, judging by lor_'s review of the film on IMDB, which includes information from a director Q&A confirming the sexual harassment/response allegation) to pass that off as the innate inferiority of memoir, and looking back most porn-like substances I've come across that have bored me to tears have been of that variety. (100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed, anyone?) But there's an added level of pretentiousness here that also applies; I'm not sure whether I should be applauding Brisseau for having had the hubris to use a trope from Orphée or to backhand him, like so many other reviewers have done, for the shameless rip-off. The answer may lie in the question; would anyone but the greatest purist be taking him to task for attempting it if he's actually pulled it off? Taking a tangent from there, arthouse porn is still porn (if you're more ashcan than academic, you may want to look at this from the perspective that arthouse porn is still arthouse; either squinty-eyed view of this crossover is equally valid). While I would never claim to be an authority on the subject, it has always seemed to me that attempts to make arthouse porn are by default attsmpts to legitimize pornography as an artistic medium (think Winterbottom's 9 Songs here). There should be some argument about whether such legitimization is needed, even if that argument is fading the farther we get away from the days when the "film" half of the "adult film" genre was just as important. But the legitimizing aspect here has a much darker background given the film's memoir qualities; it can be argued that Brisseau is not attempting to legitimize the pornier aspects of his film as much as he is attempting to legitimize the sexual harassment that spawned the script for this movie. My relatively high rating for the movie, which stems entirely from my appreciation of gratuitous nudity on a movie screen, should tell you that I am at least attempting to give Brisseau the benefit of the doubt here, and my conclusion that any attempts to legitimize sexual harassment to be found here were unconscious on Brisseau's part. If I ever find out that is not the case, I'll be revising the rating on this to zero. **
November 6, 2013
i want to see it. . .
July 1, 2013
fallen angels. lesbian sex. creepy voice in background.blah.
May 31, 2013
worth a wank or two.
½ December 24, 2012
I am an avid foreign film watcher, although preferably French films as I understand the language and don't have to labor through subtitles. I've watched this movie 3 times in an effort to find something redeemable about it. From having no clue why these angels are intent on destroying him, which angels are self-admittedly, in the beginning of the movie, not angels but fallen souls who are condemned to obey, and what the bizarre male's voice is that appears throughout the movie mumbling sentences repeatedly that make no sense whatsoever, there is never an explanation for. Aside from it being a horrible attempt to merge soft core lesbian porn with a dark lesson, which is fails miserably to do on any level, even the sex is boring, mechanical and not even interesting to watch. Most French films are multi-layered stories that are able to merge themselves into a cohesive plot. even if not until the very last second, this movie is a waste of film and the time you extend watching it. It's not even worth watching if you have cable and there's nothing else to do. It's beyond bad, it's mundane, pedantic and boring. There's not one redeeming thing about it. Even the actresses look like they're bored stiff and just waiting for the day to end so they can cash their per diem checks and take a nap.
½ May 11, 2012
Lesbian porn disguised as an artistic French movie. Shit.
March 18, 2012
It's shot beautifully, but the film reaches out for mixed emotions rather then telling a story.
March 7, 2012
Nothing like a gratuitous Lesbian sex scene to grab attention!
December 27, 2011
me-not my cup o teala
½ October 28, 2011
A French movie about female sexuality and the denseness of males who just don't get it. This film would probably qualify as "experimental" in our society, and would more likely than not garner a NC-17 rating. Too slow and shallow to be enjoyable, but the ladies are lovely.
December 25, 2010
A pointless pornographic "art" film. What a stupid idea for a film!
September 19, 2010
A very mild, boring, and slightly offensive piece of erotica made for the pleasure of a naive subset of the male population. Very little redeeming value.
August 24, 2010
Super hot, but super stupid. "Hey ladies, I'm conducting an artistic experiment. It's not porn, but I'm going to need to watch you masturbate and film you having threesomes. But it's totally not porn." Somehow prudish. Misogynistic. But hot.
½ June 16, 2010
Very awful. What is this film for?!!
½ June 6, 2010
Provocative, artfully shot and occasionally gripping, Exterminating Angels nevertheless falls victim to its nonsensical, too-French-for-its-own-good absurdity.
February 26, 2010
Erotic, yet strange, French flick.
August 1, 2009
No se que se fumo el guinista y el director pero insisto... que me digan por que al parcer es de la mesma que yo fumo sin saber!!!
June 19, 2009
this movie was pretty hot. It was different thats for sure. And hes an idiot for not covering his ass.
May 24, 2009
Ce film aurait pu etre une reussite si son realisateur n'avait ete a la fois juge et partie. Jean-Claude Brisseau a tourne "les Anges Exterminateurs" apres sa condamnation pour le harcelement sexuel de deux actrices auxquelles il avait fait passer des essais tres "hot". Le film - qui raconte cette affaire - a donc la forme d'un plaidoyer pro domo. Brisseau tente de justifier ces essais erotiques par une demarche intello-artistique visant a comprendre et saisir le desir et le plaisir feminin. La premiere moitie du film est plutot convaincante. Frederic van den Driessche, qui interprete le personnage de Brisseau, campe un sphynx mysterieux et ambigu dans ses motivations reelles, en permanence sur la corde raide. C'est tendu et rythme comme un thriller... malheureusement, l'ensemble ne tient pas la distance et sombre dans un salmigondis verbeux et plombant, qui transpire la mauvaise foi et la megalomanie. Mauvaise foi, parce que quand on voit concretement a quoi s'apparente ce soit-disant travail sur le desir feminin - quelques plans filmes large au camescope d'ebats lesbiens triolistes - on se dit qu'il nous prend vraiment pour des neuneus ("le Voyeur" de Michael Powell qui trucidait ses victimes avec le trepied de sa camera pour saisir l'effroi sur leur visage en plan serre avait au moins le merite de la coherence). Megalomanie enfin, parce que Brisseau agace a force de se donner en permanence le beau role, celui du genie incompris, de l'albatros baudelairien. Ses actrices sont toutes folles amoureuses de lui, envoutees par son charisme, puis folles tout court - au sens clinique du terme - quand elles se retournent contre lui. Brisseau se depeint en heros de tragedie grecque (on a droit a une sorte de choeur antique, avec l'apparition de deux anges malefiques et de sa grand-mere) voire en Christ crucifie, lors de la scene finale ou il se fait tabasser dans son hall d'immeuble.
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