Out today in limited release, this handsomely composed French film of gay sex and gay murder that unfolds oh-so-slowly over a summer in a lakeside cruising area, divided our group last fall at the New York Film Festival because we each disliked it in different ways. And yet Stranger by the Lake has unanimous very positive reviews, averaging a lofty 83 on Metacritic. Toronto's Adam Nayman says,
"It turns out that still waters run deep – and with a hell of an undertow to boot. The genius of Guiraudie’s precisely measured set-up is how it affords him space to trenchantly explore ideas about fear and desire without overstepping generic boundaries; whatever its submerged themes, the film is first and foremost a thriller, with its share of superbly meted-out shocks. Spare, steely, sexually explicit in a way that transcends mere provocation, Stranger by the Lake is vital cinema."
Watch the trailer here. It's the sixth feature from writer-director Alain Guiraudie, who turns fifty in July.