One to Another
Something "extremely subtle" is about to go on.
Small town malaise, it seems, is universal. In one country it might be expressed through hanging out with your abnormally close buddies riding BMX bikes, sniffing glue and shooting cats with BB guns, and in another country it might be expressed by hanging out with your abnormally close buddies, riding little motorbikes, playing in a dad-rock band, indulging in sun-dappled homo-erotic wrassling and fucking your abnormally close Alpha-buddy's even more abnormally close sister. In either case, bad shit is sure to follow, up to and including horrendous, senseless murder.
But before that comes that fucking. A lot of it. However, because the film is structured so that it ping-pongs back and forth between idyllic, pre-lapsarian nude sunbathing (and such) and post-crime tortured clue and soul-searching, One to Another's exploration of the lives of an all too tight-knit group of provincial French young folks ends up muddled and confusing, and the viewer is unlikely to enjoy either the sex or the existential musings. By the end of the film, the only thing we know for sure is that rural France is a prime spawning ground of Abercrombie and Fitch-y hot boys, as the male leads look like they tumbled straight out of that iconically homosocial catalog. Better looking still is a hot, possibly mystical retard in a strangely attractive sweater-vest/overall combo, which I would not be suprised to see anchoring the fall Calvin Klein collection. Put another way, you're not likely to see a better collection of cheekbones in a film this summer.
The female lead, Lucie, (Lizzie Brochere) looks like a low-rent Tara Reid, including boob job scars. Her main attraction for the boys is her availability, since they more or less all fuck or have fucked her in the past (except for the one who just likes to watch, which sets up a ghoulish joke later in the film). Her brother, Pierre (Arthur Dupont), is the lead singer of the band (which Lucie is strangely not part of, except as #1 groupie) and the sexual superstar of the friends, not only boning one of the other boys on the sly but working nights as a manwhore and professional orgy-goer. He's also the owner of what I can only surmise is a high school letter jacket for making the varsity incest squad, and with his sister, a matching ass-cheek strawberry birthmark. Pierre is supposed to signify unfettered, pure sexuality that annihilates all boundaries. For instance, he and sis engage in some "extremely subtle" frottage in an extremely picturesque al fresco bathtub, and there are several other Bonobo-esque couplings. Pierre's sexuality, even when covert, is a physical, primal force that can overwhelm and force people into equally uncontrolled actions.
When Pierre goes missing on the motorbike he bought with his orgy-money, and eventually turns up beaten to death, Lucie becomes a determined, slutty Nancy Drew on a quest to fuck her way to the truth, all the while offering up such quintessentially French musings like "deprived of youth, man becomes accomplice to his own death." A broad array of rightwing boogeymen are offered as suspects, including secretive old queens, nihilistic young rough trade, fag-bashing neo-nazis, thieving gypsies, sister-protecting Algerians. Lucie tries to coerce a pre-mature ejaculating police detective and the aforementioned mystic retard into helping her solve the mystery, but hot snatch freely given can only do so much.
When we finally learn the answer of who snuffed Pierre, the filmmakers reveal that the film was "based on a true story" and that no one ever knew the motives of the killers. The implication is that the motivations for all such crimes are unknowable, that one can observe the actions of a seemingly normal person and not ever have the slightest inkling as to why they committed a horrible crime. This is just silliness, as normal people don't just snap and off someone, particularly in the way it goes down in the film. While maybe the institutionalized Lucie and the filmmakers can't cope with the reality of murder, most people can combine intellect and empathy in order to hazard some sort of guess as to the whys.
In the last scene Lucie lies crumpled in an orchard, absolutely still, as her only true friend the courageous retard rushes to her aid. When he gets to her it turns out that she was only playing a game, which she calls "learning how to die without him." One wishes that she came to that conclusion far earlier in the film and spared us any further philosophical bullshit.