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Juliette Binoche gives an outrageous performance in Bruno Dumont’s (L’Humanité, Hadewijch) surreal slapstick comedy, which screened to great acclaim at Cannes 2016. It marks a radical tonal shift from the director’s usual patient, hyper serious style and plays like a madcap remix of Dumont’s TV mini-series P’tit Quinquin (which also revolved around a pair of oddball detectives exploring possible crimes in a seaside community).
Co-starring Fabrice Luchini and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi alongside Binoche, it's set in summer 1910 on a lovely stretch of France's northern coast. Several tourists have vanished while relaxing on its beautiful beaches, leading to an investigation spearheaded by inspectors Machin (Didier Desprès) and Malfoy (Cyril Rigaux). They soon discover the epicentre of these mysterious disappearances must be Slack Bay, a small seaside community home to two rather different families: the ferrymen of the Brufort clan and the degenerate and decadent bourgeois van Peteghems...
Combining savage archetypes with spot-on wit, Slack Bay is a fun, peculiar romp with deeper conceits lurking beneath the surface. Beautifully shot with a high contrast palette, the movie has a hyperreal quality that makes it Dumont’s most polished work.
15 (122 mins)
Director: Bruno Dumont
Cast: Fabrice Luchini, Juliette Binoche, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi
2017 | French | Subtitled