Film Reviews, Short Review

L’Inconnu du Lac [Stranger by the Lake] (2013)

3/4

Since its release, Stranger by the Lake has been compared to Alfred Hitchcock’s more modernist and artful thrillers – certainly, Alain Guiraudie’s film has an obsession with desire, danger and ever-constant voyeurism that feels very Hitchcockian – but in execution this has more in common with the thrillers of Claude Chabrol: glacial pacing, a literary sensibility in its characterisation, as well as a focus on such characterisation rather than the murder that’s central to the film’s bare-bones plot. At a lakeside gay cruising spot, Franck (Pierre de Ladonchamps) is attracted to Michel (Christophe Paou), despite watching him drowning a lover one night from the bushes. Through exquisite cinematography and thoughtful mise-en-scene, Stranger by the Lake builds a fascinating mystery-drama, despite some anachronistic missteps such as a misplaced detective which damages the film’s considered construction.

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