A film very close to being a masterpiece...
Andrew Ellington | I'm kind of everywhere | 09/13/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Political unrest, cinematic musing and unbridled erotica come together almost magically in director Bernardo Bertolucci's controversial film `The Dreamers'. While it is far from `Last Tango in Paris', to completely shrug off the films merits as nothing more than youthful porn would be a mistake. While the young and obviously attractive cast sheds clothing and performs countless suggestive acts with one another, the heart and soul of `The Dreamers' is far more complicated than a mere act of sexual aggression. `The Dreamers' is an interesting character study that benefits from drawing comparisons to the films of which it obviously admires, namely anything French new wave (which is especially exciting for me).
The film revolves around a threesome, French twins Isabelle and Theo and American student Michael. Bonding over their love of film and their obvious physical attributes, the mismatched threesome begin a troubled affair during a dangerous time. The film unfolds rather bluntly, with elongated scenes involving depravity that is masked over by a sense of naivity needed to fully understand the state with which these `kids' find themselves. Decieved by their own communities and blinded by their own passions, the group finds that reality is never as kind as one would expect, and when morality and human nature begin to erode the core of their bond, the begin to fray rather rapidly.
Anyone who is familiar with the films of Bernardo Bertolucci knows that he has a thing for nudity and sexual exploitation. `The Dreamers' is full of that. If you are offended by mature and often graphically controversial content then stay far away from this film. The taboo subject of incest and bi-sexuality are tackled here openly and without hesitation. It is a film that could easily offend those not prepared for what they are in store for.
While the bulk of `The Dreamers' may not come together as definitively as Bertolucci may have wished, it does certainly remain provoking in tone and remarkably memorable, even if it is for the wrong reasons at times (and yet, are they really the wrong reasons). I don't think that this film speaks as poignantly about human relationships and personal growth as `Last Tango in Paris' did, but it does manage to crawl under the skin with its blatant fearlessness.
The performances captured here are all very good, especially that of Eva Green who is absolutely stunning (one of the most beautiful women alive) and just effortlessly captivating. She captures the audience with her luscious eyes and continues to bait us with her unwavering understanding of her characters human flaws. Louis Garrel is a very strong presence here, understanding the complexities that come from a boy in his position and he plays to that strength remarkably well here. You believe the jealousy in his eyes and the frayed morality that has come from a life of secrets. Michael Pitt is not an actor I generally appreciate. I find him rather one-note. His boyish features and sheepish presence actually lay nice layers to Matthew's overall persona and compliment the strength found in his co-stars.
A film that uncovers the dangers of social segregation, `The Dreamers' is far more than it appears to be, even if it doesn't quite become everything it tried to be."