Let The Corpses Tan

A grizzled thug and his gang head to an island retreat with a haul of 250 kilograms of gold bullion to lay low; however, a bohemian writer, his muse, and a pair of gendarmes further complicate things, as allegiances are put to the test.

Let the Corpses Tan is arguably one of the more satisfying crime thrillers in recent memory. A French farce fried in Spaghetti Western style, the pic tells the story of a grizzled French writer named Max Bernier (Marc Barbé), who has the habit of arranging to stay amongst posh ruins on the southern coast of France with his mistress/muse Luce (Elina Löwensohn). It is on one sun-drenched afternoon that a gang led by Rhino (Stéphane Ferrara), pulls a heist stealing just over 500 pounds of gold and bolts to said coastal bungalow to hide. On the way, they pick up two women and a child who, coincidentally are headed to the same retreat for reasons unexplained.

A French farce fried in Spaghetti Western style…”

Yes. Several people, multiple motives, dire consequences, secrets, absurdity, this is a farce and I love it.

The bandits arrive with the gold and the two women and child to the coastal hovel. After a momentary lull, chaos explodes in a singular moment (as indicated by the stark timeline noted on the screen) and the ants scatter. Everyone learns of the gold, everyone learns of secret allegiances, plans, motives, and all are stranded with a singular reason to escape.

Playing like a grizzled, sun-bleached Sergio Leone flick, the action blazes through a 12-hour period with compressed spasms of action in between hyper-stylized scenes of taut drama. Think the milk scene in Snatch, then throw in a few more points of view and you have the remarkable kaleidoscope of craziness that this movie dishes out in abundance.

“…a 12-hour period with compressed spasms of action in between hyper-stylized scenes of taut drama.”

Written and directed by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, adapted from the novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette and Jean-Pierre Bastid, the pic movies lightning fast. The editing pops, colors resemble the smeared finger paintings of a toddler, and everything is delivered with a cold clipped savagery. While every performance is fun, it is Löwensohn’s Luce that sells the film. Her performance is at once puzzling, sexy, and wonderful.

Let the Corpses Tan is a fiendishly clever, meticulously stylish, lean, comedic thriller. Its sole purpose is to grab you by the lapels and entertain the living hell out of you, boy does it.

Let the Corpses Tan (2018) Directed by Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani. Written By Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani, Jean-Patrick Manchette, Jean-Pierre Bastid. Starring Elina Löwensohn, Stéphane Ferrara, Bernie Bonvoisin, Marc Barbé, Marine Sainsily, Michelangelo Marchese.

8 out of 10 stars

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