Let the Corpses Tan review Elina LowensohnYear: 2017
Director(s): Helene Cattet, Bruno Forzani
Writer(s): Jean-Pierre Bastid, Helene Cattet
Region of Origin: France

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Rating: n/a
16mm, Color, 90 mins

Synopsis: A gang of thieves make their last stand. (Source)

There’s no other way around this, Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani are definitely not for everyone, but lord help you if you can’t enjoy their singular brand of perverse, trash cinema. With their third effort, Let the Corpses Tan, the duo deliver their most accessible film yet, without skimping out on the diverse bag of shocks that have made them such a beautifully polarizing force. While not the kaleidoscopic masterpiece that The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears is, it’s still an a overwhelming, kinetic shoot-em-up, corralling echoes of Tarantino, Argento and their own twisted Euro sensibilities into a volatile cocktail of creaking leather, gratuitous violence and sleaze. From the opening fake-out, to a literally incendiary end, the film is a relentless barrage of energy and go-for-broke absurdity. This is cinema at its most unhinged and unapologetic, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The set up is extremely simple. During a sweltering summer day, a thug named Rhino (Stephane Ferrara) and his merry band of thugs steal about 500lbs worth of pure gold. They then hole up at the castle ruins of a friend named Luce (Elina Lowensohn), somewhere along the Mediterranean coast. Their holiday goes sour when a pair of cops track the gang back to their hideaway and things escalate to an all-out fight for survival. From here on out, bullets are constantly flying and its every man or woman for themselves.

I don’t have to mince words about this one – it’s exactly what you see on screen, no more no less. After the perfunctory but wildly entertaining set up, the plot is basically one long, drawn out gun battle, alternating between scores of characters either looking for cover, backstabbing colleagues, brokering alliances, or unloading their weapons on the tiniest pieces of exposed flesh they can find. Of course, being a Cattet/Forzani joint, the directors still find ways to twist what little narrative they have into a gleefully irreverent journey of excess and psychedelic abandon. Strewn about are recurring erotic dreams which may or may not present the angel of death herself, relentless closeups, bronzed flesh and cheeky title cards which call out the passage of time or help to identify when the directors replay the same moment over and over from different characters’ perspectives. Not to mention, one of these characters is literally caught with his pants down, leading to a running gag that stings as its stretched to its limit. The whole thing remains lean and taut till the very end, and there’s a sense of liberation that comes from its virtual lack of subtext.

Let the Corpses Tan reviewIt isn’t also ins’t disingenuous to say that Cattet and Forzani’s characters are little more than window dressing, and they’ve got an eclectic cast each handpicked for their hard facial lines and general looks of intimidating oppression. It’s a move that works, with each actor bringing a sense of swagger to their roles and helping to land the film’s indisputably cool aesthetic.

For those who like their films hardboiled and no-nonsense, Let The Corpses Tan delivers everything it promises and then some, trampling over the line of good taste and relishing in its hyperactive violence. This feature-length montage pummels us into submission, and not a single second feels superfluous. Corpses is a guaranteed good time if you can tune into its wavelength- it’s electric, never stops to catch its breath and makes us feel its heat in the most vivid way. Bless, Cattet and Forzani.

SG