Swimming Pool

You'll have to take your eyes off teen temptress Ludivine Sagnier to navigate the psychological twists in Francois Ozon's thriller. It's almost worth it. The French director is a major tease, as proved by the way he blended song, dance and homicide in last year's 8 Women.

In this film, Ozon's first in English, Charlotte Rampling, the star of his brilliant Under the Sand, portrays Sarah Morton, a prissy British novelist with writer's block. At the home of her publisher (Charles Dance) in the south of France, Sarah hopes inspiration will come.

What comes instead is his babe daughter Julie (Sagnier), who beds men under Sarah's prim nose. Then one man ends up dead. Or does he? Ozon is screwing with us, playfully enough so we don't resent it, but he's working the shallow end of the Pool. It's Sagnier, a young Bardot, who lifts the movie, and Rampling, 58, who gives it nuance, not to mention a nude scene that shows off a body Demi Moore would envy. These two make it seductive fun to be fooled.

From The Archives Issue 246: August 25, 1977
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