Love, review: ‘Something precious survives the nihilism’

Aomi Muyock and Karl Glusman in Gaspar Noe's Love. Picture: Alchemy

Aomi Muyock and Karl Glusman in Gaspar Noe's Love. Picture: Alchemy - Credit: Archant

This explicit 3D sex film shows all the signs of a very bad movie, but gets better as it goes on, says Michael Joyce.

If any other director made an explicit 3D sex film it would be seen as an opportunistic, gimmicky move. For Gasper Noe though it’s a sign that he may be lightening up a bit. His best and most infamous film, the gruelling Irreversible ends with the title Time Destroys All Things. Time and the passing thereof does heaps of damage here but maybe, just maybe, something precious survives its ravages.

Irreversible started at the grim end and worked its way back towards happier beginnings. Love starts with its lead character stuck in a cramped flat on a day of endless rain with his child and the woman he doesn’t love (Kristin.) He receives news that the love of his life has disappeared and may have committed suicide. From there the film works its way back and forth through the course of their relationship.

Murphy (Glusman) is an American living in a fantasy Paris where everybody speaks English, with his fantasy French girlfriend Elecktra (Muyock): Betty Blue hot but with Cotillard sophistication. It seems like the American dream of how the rest of the world should be, but is rather a trap to slowly expose all his vacuous pretensions and character limitations.

Initially Love shows all the signs of being a very bad film, with some ropey acting and heavyhanded dialogue, but if you attune yourself to Noe’s playful nilism it begins to make a unique kind of sense. Noe’s last film Enter The Void started out like it might be one of the most amazing films you’d ever seen but two and half hours later it had burned through most of your initial enthusiasm. Conversely, Love grows.

Rating: 3/5 stars