Review: ‘Stranger By The Lake’ 5.14.14

 

Already in contention for my top 10 films of the year. Certainly my favorite foreign film so far. I had known about this one during its short theatrical release at one of the art house cinemas in town, and had my radar on it beacuse I knew a couple of things – one, that it was a murder mystery & two, that it garnered some of the better reviews from every source around. So my expectations were that it was going to be something special. And boy did it live up to the hype. I also remember it being described in one review as “Hitchcockian”, but that’s such a loose term when talking about film I can only take it with a grain of salt. That being said, it reminded me a lot of the Hitchcock films I’ve seen, particularly the ones that emphasize evoking a sense of dread and paranoia. But almost as if it were by way of a Pedro Almodovar film (who incorporates a lot of Hitch’s ideas interwoven with themes of his own throughout his films). Without giving away plot details it takes place in one setting (a lake, hence the title) where men go around “cruising” (a nod to the Pacino film of the same name). There are 4-5 key players that make up the primary players, and a murder unfolds (done in a very observant way where he allows you the viewer in on the mystery unfolding while also questioning what you’ve seen). The rest of the film has you guessing character motivations, done masterfully might I add, as if you’re trying to solve the case yourself. Add in some exquisite cinematography, along with a very engaging and involving murder mystery, and you have most, if not all, of the elements a person could look for in a film of this genre. Highly worth seeking out.

Grade: strong B+

To Note: This film was nominated in almost every category at this year’s Cesar Awards, France’s equivalent of the Academy.