Fresh Bait

Though it’s remarkably well crafted, Bertrand Tavernier’s re-creation of the real-life exploits of three young Parisians (two guys and a girl) who cold-bloodedly murdered two men for their money in December 1993the female serving as sexual bait, the males carrying out the killingsleft me with a sour aftertaste. Tavernier seems to hate his youthful and remorseless characters too much to understand what makes them tick. There’s certainly plenty of intelligence here, and the avoidance of psychology has its benefits, but the script (by Tavernier and his frequent collaborator and ex-wife Colo Tavernier O’Hagen, working from a nonfiction book by Morgan Sportes) never transcends or even builds on its givens. Are we supposed to conclude that the trio’s enthusiasm for De Palma’s Scarface is somehow connected to their lack of soul? This painstakingly detailed docudrama, which won the grand prize at the Berlin film festival, commands some attention and respect; I just can’t go along with its antihumanistic attack on antihumanism. (JR)

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