Dead in France


Dead in France seems sprung from the mind of a very young male—one who’s watched a lot of movies, hasn’t yet harvested an idea from any other art form (or real life), and is giddily obsessed with violence, macho posturing, and naked women. That is to say, this stab at British black comedy is in keeping with too much other modern English-language cinema that has mainstream aspirations. Charles (Brian A. Levine, who also wrote and produced) is a fastidious British hit man who’s all set to retire with an ill-gotten fortune, preferably aboard a yacht. All that’s missing is a woman with whom to spend his retirement. His newly hired, big-breasted cleaning lady seems to be an answer (their first conversation is a witless attempt by Levine-as-screenwriter at sexual innuendo and double entendre), but she turns out to have a skeezy boyfriend—we know he’s trouble because he has a mohawk and tattoos. The real wrench in Charles’ plans: a couple of con artists who abscond with his money, setting in motion a chase across the Cote d’Azur, complete with a psycho rival assassin (that it’s a woman adds nothing to the character.) The whole thing, dated and overly familiar, is never as ballsy, brash, or clever as it thinks it is. Ernest Hardy