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This is a sad movie. A few sexy sex scenes but the butt plug scene cannot be erased!
Gay selvagem, uso de drogas, prostituicao, final meio obvio..
Demoralizing and pointless.
"Sauvage/Wild" is a story about prostitution, not like Vivian (Julia Roberts) in "Pretty Woman" rescued by the handsome prince Richard Gere or is it Julian (Richard Gere) in "The American Gigolo" wearing Armani suits but more like Anna Magnani in "Mamma Roma" or Giulietta Massina in "Nights of Cabiria" before it was turned into the Broadway Musical with Gwen Verdon as "Sweet Charity" or the movie version with Shirley Maclaine who are no longer prostitutes but dance hall girls!!
The nameless 22-year-old male makes a living and lives on the street. He drinks the rainwater from the streets, steals an apple when he can, eats trash from a dumpster, basically wears the same clothes every day and if he gets lucky sleeps in a bed if the trick allows him to stay all night.
The abuse his body takes finally catches up with him but all he wants is to live one more day, fall in love and be loved. Like life the one he loves doesn't love him and the one who loves him isn't loved by him.
This is not a love story with a 'happily ever after' ending but a nitty gritty story about a kid who lives on the streets, takes each day as it comes, does what he has to do with who he has to do it in order to survive so he can get up the next day and find that elusive love he wants to give and get.
The writer-screenwriter Camille Vidal-Naquet refers to the boy as Leo in press releases and makes no apologies for the nudity as this is the way Leo, and the others hustling, live. He puts Leo in many degrading situations which Leo accepts as the price for the way he lives. We know nothing about the boy before we meet him nor do we know about what happens to him after the last shot which will linger in your head for hours if not days.
Felix Maritaud, as Leo, gives his all and pulls us into the pain he is feeling and the moments of joy that come his way sparingly. There is a scene with a female doctor, played by Marie Seux, that gives you some of the insight to the pain he is living with but then Maritaud lets you see all of him, not only physically. He lives for the moment and draws you in to live those moments with him.
"Sauvage/Wild" is a movie that will show you a world that exists and you can no longer say you didn't know. These, if not your kids, are your neighbors kids, your kids schoolfriends and many pushed out of homes and on to the streets to find there is only one way to survive and which you probably couldn't.
Leo is 22 and sells his body on the street for a bit of cash. The men come and go, and he stays right here - longing for love. He doesn't know what the future will bring. He hits the road. His heart is pounding.
Ever the propagandist, Armond White attempts to draw a false equivalency between the film's depiction of a self-destructive gay prostitute and homosexuality itself. He may as well ask, what would Donald Trump think about Jeune & Jolie, a 2013 French film about a young female prostitute. I'll tell you what he'd think: he would want her to show up at his door.
HUSTLE & BLOW - My Review of SAUVAGE/WILD (3 1/2 Stars)
I'll never forget the buttplug scene. Not because it's disturbing and somewhat graphic, but because it prompted my favorite indignant Writers Guild walk-out I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing, and there have been many. As soon as things got hot and heavy, a woman across the aisle from me stood up, waved her arms furiously, and muttered, "I CAN NOT E-V-E-N!!!" And here, my friends, is why good, challenging films can't have Oscars!
The delicate sensibilities of professional writers notwithstanding, SAUVAGE/WILD, the debut feature of writer/director Camille Vidal-Naquet, traces the downward spiral of a young, gay street hustler in small town France and it pulls no punches. It's a dour, violent, explicit, drug-fueled tale of a man who for better or for worse (and let's face it, he leans into worse), lives life on his own terms. The unnamed hustler called Leo in the credits and played by the remarkable Fï¿ 1/2 (C)lix Maritaud (KNIFE + HEART, BPM) spends his time turning tricks, dancing in clubs, squatting in crack dens or sleeping on curbs. Leo pines after a fellow hustler, dynamically played by Eric Bernard, who does "gay for pay" only and has attached himself to a wealthy, older gentleman.
Leo also faces some looming health issues yet charges forward from one horrific incident to the next. Vidal-Naquet, however, manages to instill this upsetting film with a lot of unexpected tenderness, whether it's coming from his crush, a fellow gay hustler, and in one breathtaking moment, a female doctor who allows Leo the space to speak his truth. The film feels like a direct descendant of the late, great AgnÃ¨s Varda's 1985 film, VAGABOND, which told the story of a homeless female drifter. Both films share the DNA of a propulsive docu-style of storytelling and a difficult but empathetic lead character. I'm also reminded of the New Queer Cinema films of the 1990s, such as HEAD ON and THE LIVING END, which also pointed its cameras at people living on the edge.
Despite the similarities, SAUVAGE/WILD has its own voice. It's harsh and brutal, but Leo has agency and owns every decision he makes. The world may want to fix him, but he has other plans. He's aware of the horrors, but also feels alive whenever he charges into the flames. One person's existentialist nightmare may be another's paradise. Think of Alex in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. After all of the brainwashing, the change in appearance and attitude, don't you think he was way more interesting and fun as a practitioner of the old ultra-violence? SAUVAGE/WILD risks asking this same question. You may not like Leo's decisions or actions, but they're his, not yours.
The film also benefits from some incredible cinematography by Jacques Girault. Yes, many scenes feature the usual handheld camera, but then we're thrust into evocative strobing images in a club, or beautifully framed scenes by the park roads where the hustlers work. Still, it's not a film for everyone. It often feels stuck on repeat as Leo's life goes from one dark moment to the next, and it has plenty of nudity and some really aggressive sex. It also has plenty of bloody violence, yet spares us the most intense of these episodes, showing us only the aftermath. Did I mention there's lots of sex? If on-camera thrusting and blow jobs aren't your jam, you might want to go down the hall and watch MISSING LINK instead. And yes, that buttplug scene may end up as notorious as the peach scene in CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, but for me, its unforgettable quality lies in how Leo responds to every humiliating demand of his sociopathic johns.
Credit goes, however, to Fï¿ 1/2 (C)lix Maritaud for injecting his character with empathy and heartbreaking fragility. He allows that vulnerability to peak out in key moments, yet it never feels overly sentimental. It's as if he's letting a little of angst out so he can steel himself for whatever comes next. Leo also has no issues kissing his clients, a line most hustlers won't cross. It's as if his character will accept love and affection anywhere he can get it. Camille Vidal-Naquet reportedly spent a few years researching the lives of hustler in order to write his screenplay and it shows in the ways they interact with their customers. You may wince at the methods they employ to drug and rob one client, but it also feels very believable.
I admired this film's unblinking determination to give us something new in this gritty, tried and true genre. Leo lives for the moment, seemingly relishing not having a road map. Not everyone will want to follow him in his freefall, but, as it turns out, ï¿ 1/2I CAN E-V-E-N!
Powerful filmmaking, although the graphic sex scenes and passive protagonist won't be for everyone
The debut film of writer/director Camille Vidal-Naquet, Sauvage [Wild] takes as its subject the daily grind of a male prostitute. Undeniably bleak, the film is not, however, what you would define as miserablism. Remaining detached from what it depicts, it adopts a dispassionate non-judgemental approach whereby it intermixes the degrading reality of selling one's self with unexpected moments of tenderness. Some will be put off by the (very) graphic sex scenes, the passivity of the main character, or the lack of much of a plot. However, for everyone else, although it certainly isn't multiplex fare, there's a hell of a lot to admire here.
Set in Strasbourg, Sauvage tells the story of Leo (Felix Maritaud), a homeless, drug-addicted male prostitute. The essentially plotless narrative follows Leo from one sexual encounter to the next, occasionally focusing on his relationship with gay-for-pay prostitute Ahd (Eric Bernard), with whom he is in love.
In preparation for making the film, Vidal-Naquet spent three years embedded with a group of male prostitutes, and all of Leo's sexual encounters in the film come from stories told by the actual sex workers.
Leo is depicted as someone that isn't especially interested in a life away from drugs and prostitution, and so he takes the violence, degradations, and humiliations, because every now and then he meets someone who provides him with a degree of transitory happiness. He also doesn't share in the detachment or bitterness of his fellow prostitutes, with all of them finding it bizarre that he's willing to kiss clients when it feels right. This illustrates how different he is from the others, and how selling himself is not exclusively monetary - he is searching for genuine affection, and he seems incapable of establishing the same boundaries between himself and the clients by which the other sex workers live.
They are healthier, cleaner, more financially independent, more aware of the dangers of their occupation, but Leo is more tender, and for all the harshness of his life, he never lets go of his hope of finding love. This is why a scene involving a female doctor (Marie Seux) is so important; treating him with respect and empathy, when she attempts to examine him, he instinctively hugs her, and they hold each other for a moment, in an embrace that has nothing to do with sexuality and everything to do with kindness and emotional support.
Obviously, for a film of this nature to be in any way realistic, it must depict sexuality, and Vidal-Naquet doesn't hold back on that front. What's interesting about such scenes, however, is that they never lose their potency, irrespective of how many we see. I think this is because of how Vidal-Naquet presents them; far from filming them in a voyeuristic way or as titillation, they are instead presented dispassionately as something that happens to people in this line of work, as normal for Leo as taking drugs or sleeping rough.
By presenting sexuality as simply a part of Leo's life, Vidal-Naquet normalises it. He certainly doesn't gloss over the problems of this kind of life, or the sexual perversions one may encounter, but he doesn't present sex work as, in and of itself, fundamentally immoral. Instead, he depicts both sides of the coin; from non-sexual intimacy with an elderly bookseller (Jean-Pierre Baste) who simply wants someone to read to him to a demeaning BDSM threesome.
In terms of problems, many will find the graphic sex scenes too much. Another issue is that Leo is an extremely passive character; he doesn't so much drive events as events simply happen to him. Coupled with this, he doesn't have much of an arc. Additionally, the depiction of Claude (Philippe Ohrel), a magnanimous and kindly middle-aged man who takes a liking to Leo and immediately opens his home to him, is a bit over-the-top; in a film founded on realism, he is something of a deus ex-machina, arriving in Leo's life just as he reaches his lowest point.
On paper, Sauvage should be a textbook case of misery porn. However, Vidal-Naquet's non-judgemental depiction of Leo allows the more optimistic elements of his personality to rise, even in the face of seemingly endless degradations. It's certainly not an easy watch, but amidst the depravity, Vidal-Naquet finds moments of tenderness. Neither condemning Leo's lifestyle nor valorising it, no matter how demeaning or brutal it becomes, he always seems to find a way to keep going. That may be interpreted as tragic, but that's not the way Leo looks at himself.
This good looking French film attempts to paint a realistic but grim picture of male hustlers and prostitutes who works the roads in the Parisian suburb of Boulogne, focusing in particular on one gay 22 yo, a naïve and hopeless romantic who seems to be always making the wrong choices for himself and Felix Maritaud's tender performance as this unnamed hustler (though credited as Leo on imdb) is the best thing in this film. However, the rest feels anecdotal and episodic as we see Maritaud's character meanders from one client to the next, from one drug fix to another, almost as frivolously as his character, always looking for something that is beyond his reach. Whilst these individual episodes may be interesting in their own right, they don't seem to quite coalesce as characters drop in and out and things just happens and then the film moves on to the next. If it is the objective of writer-director Camille Vidal-Naquet to mirror the film to the character's aimlessness, then fair enough. But for me, it just doesn't quite click and I am left feeling that he is trying to cram in as many real life incidents he has managed to research as possible at the expense of a more focused character study of one lost soul succumbing to a savage set of circumstances.