"Our Paradise" is not your typical French hustler flick. It’s chock full of murders, too. This haunting "romantic" film explores a love story built on showing the ultimate level of loyalty. Vaguely reminiscent of "American Translation," this new trend of French, gay, murderous love stories is both troubling and intriguing.
French gay heartthrob Stéphane Rideau has come a long way from his younger days in "Come Undone." He plays Vassili, a down-on-his-luck prostitute, who finds new life with Angelo (Dimitri Durdaine), a much younger drifter. Coincidentally, he also finds new life murdering his johns. The two embark on a killing spree and prove that not only is love blind but also justice.
Gaël Morel creates a dark and haunting world where sex is a commodity, murder is hot and love is forever. Vassili has reached the lowest and most degrading thing possible in the life of a prostitute...old age. As he slowly degrades himself more and more he combats this feeling with a fetish for murder. This brings to mind issues of sexual power exchange and elements of BDSM but with much higher stakes.
As heavy as sex work and murder might be, the love affair of Vassili and Angelo seems innocent and almost sweet. The juxtaposition of this puppy love with such dark elements almost makes them okay. At some times it may pander for shock value, the film still explores some fertile territory and poses interesting questions.
"Our Paradise" introduces a little macabre and gore to the gay love story. Almost a hybrid of "The Living End" and "American Translation" this hustler love story strives to be more than just a cliché gay movie. Fans of foreign films will enjoy the films exploration of the scandalous and avant guarde.