Top critical review
bizarre and fascinating, but a mess
on October 15, 2014
A highly unusual movie that attempts to mix three different story strategies. First, it's a thriller about two psychopaths who have murdered before. They meet, become pals, and slaughter a family of four. Second, it's social commentary--a "Marxist film" in Chabrol's words--because the psychopaths are poor and the family they butcher is well-to-do. Third, the film turns comic at the end. When the psychopaths finally cut loose, the release is so outrageous and juvenile, that we're asked to laugh. And the joke continues through to the end, with a goofball priest executing blind justice on one of the psychopaths through a deus-ex-machina auto accident.
The film is engaging, because it keeps you guessing. Am I supposed to dread the psychopaths? Or am I supposed to side with them against their bourgeois oppressors? But when the comic element kicks in, the suspension of disbelief goes out the window. This isn't a story about psychopaths killing an innocent family, nor is it a story about class warfare. It's just a bunch of film people having fun.