Stranger by the Lake (2014)
Critic Consensus: Sexy, smart, and darkly humorous, Stranger by the Lake offers rewarding viewing for adult filmgoers in search of thought-provoking drama.
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Critic Reviews for Stranger by the Lake
A stunning minimalist erotic thriller that explores with arresting photography and economical use of dialogue how human identity is defined, and sometimes imprisoned, by our desires, drives, and passions.
Carefully and often brilliantly creates its own Eden-like universe.
There's too much metaphysical packaging material in the story; it's half Styrofoam peanuts. But its ideas are intriguing and its murky suspense is undeniable.
What sets the engrossing "Stranger by the Lake" apart is that its excesses seem to point to a moral purpose beyond shock or entertainment value.
A simple and ruthlessly effective exercise in minimal narrative and style, Alain Guiraudie's moral tale is so restrained and atmospheric that the nudity and graphic sex don't upstage the creepy mood of seductive, inescapable doom.
Audience Reviews for Stranger by the Lake
Guiraudie deserves praise for the unrestrained way that he shows male nudity and explicit sex, approaching it all with the level of openness that one expects from this kind of provocative, erotic thriller, while building it slowly in a deliberate pace to reach moments of great suspense.
Excellent direction by Guiraudie outshines even the spot-on performances by Padu and Deladonchamps. An eerie masterpiece of isolation, loneliness and suspense. Undoubtedly one of the best films of 2013-2014. However, be forewarned that the film is extremely sexually graphic (on the level of "Shortbus"), but not gratuitously so. This would be quite an awkward film to watch with children in the room. But for adults, it's exceptional.
'Stranger by the Lake'. Might have enjoyed it if the ratio of suspense to male genitalia was reversed. I appreciated the stillness in the direction, the long takes, the cruising sub-culture, the action taking place in only one location, the repetition, the symbolism and juxtaposition of the detached, carnal acts with nature. Was so much hardcore sex required to make a point? The high-point is that long take of the drowning. Everything before that piked curiosity. Afterwards, it lost me until that tense final scene.
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