French Film Festival Review: Slack Bay

French Film Festival Review: Slack Bay

The annual summer holiday of the extremely eccentric Van Peteghem family is interrupted by two bumbling inspectors investigating a number of missing tourists.

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Unfortunately watching Slack Bay is 2 hours and 2 minutes of my life I will never get back!

The story is simple enough. The extremely eccentric Van Peteghem family have settled in for another summer at their cliff-top villa overlooking the picturesque Slack Bay. Their daily ritual of sunbathing and seaside strolls is soon interrupted by the arrival of two bumbling inspectors investigating a number of missing tourists.

Add to this a fishing family that collects bodies and eats them, a girl masquerading as a boy masquerading as a girl, and an inspector who mysteriously starts to float away and can only be rescued by shooting him to let his excess gas escape, and you have a comedy that is – at its best – confusing.

There is a fine line between comedy, melodrama and over-acting. Slack Bay definitely crosses this line. The acting of the wealthy family is grotesque and quite difficult to watch. There is nothing believable about them and, even though the film is a comedy, I could not relate to them at all.

The inspector and his sidekick repeat the same sight gags over and over again resulting in boredom. The other slapstick elements were heavy-handed, not helped by a banal script that rambled on and on. Even Juliette Binoche, an actress I have long revered, could not save this film. Her acting was as over-the-top as the rest, if not more so.

I found the sight of young children eating dead body parts with their faces covered in blood quite disturbing and out of place in a comedy.

There were two saving graces: the location, complete with an unusually beautiful mansion; and the score, which was quite haunting at times. However, these were not enough to redeem the rest of the film.

Slack Bay has curiosity value, but I certainly won’t be watching it again.

Reviewed by Barry Hill
Twitter: @kinesguy

Rating out of 10:  2  

Slack Bay will screen on 4, 8, 11 &19 April for the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival, which runs 30 March – 23 April 2017 exclusively at the Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas.

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