Stranger By the Lake

Pierre Deladonchamps, Christophe Paou

Directed by Alain Guiraudie
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3
Community: star rating
5 3 0
January 23, 2014

Guys cruise each other by an idyllic lake in summer. Gay porn? That's an eye of the beholder decision since blowjobs and jizz figure in the action. But Stranger By the Lake, making overt the gay subtext in Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train and North By Northwest, is at heart an erotic thriller of devilish twists and turns. Far from gender specific, this French spellbinder, sparked with wicked humor and intimations of homicide, speaks to universal rules of attraction. Writer-director Alain Guiraudie lets his camera watch idly as naked men sunbathe and hottie Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) strips for a swim. Out of the water, Franck chats casually with Henri (Patrick D'Assumcao), chubby, fully clothed and not his type. His eye is caught by Michel (Christophe Paou in a Freddy Mercury moustache), a stranger he follows into the woods. Michel is already sexually occupied, but over the next few days Franck hooks up with Michel to the point of obsession. From a distance, Franck sees Michel drown another lover. But his obsession never abates, even when an inspector (Jerome Chappatte) shows up looking for a killer. What happens next is for you to discover. Guiraudie never uses music or dialogue to punch up his themes. The meaning comes in pure cinematic terms. Like his characters, Guiraudie is walking a tightrope, finding the point where sex and death exude a similar allure. You won't be able to look away.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories


    Lou Reed | 1972

    Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

    More Song Stories entries »