Bitter Moon (1992)
This is a delightful mixture of corny and alluring, signed by the all too clever Roman Polanski. Genre-wise, Bitter Moon is rooted in the well of erotic thrillers appearing in the early 1990s, made popular by films such as Basic Instinct, Sliver and Damage. Polanski's contribution is, like Louise Malle's, proposedly a more sophisticated one. He goes one step further with the erotic, the emotional and the interpersonal, creating a setup which is both intriguing and ludicrous at once. Bitter Moon is playful and enticing, albeit all the way silly; but it is so silly and so outdone that we cannot refrain from getting mixed in. And while Polanski balances trashy and tasteless, but constantly interesting proposals, developments and power struggles with at times steamingly hot erotic material which Stone/Douglas struggle to equalize, Peter Coyote is having so much fun in the lead that we eventually see through to the cunning humour of Polanski's tale. And if we don't learn all that much about what French women are really about, we might get an insight into how British relationships evolve.