Come Undone

(Presque Rien)


The main difference between American and European gay movies (and straight movies for that matter) is the level of explicitness. Europeans films feel comfortable showing near sexually explicit couplings. Come Undone has one quite audacious display of the male member, never seen before in American mainstream or independent cinema, and frankly, not necessary. This is the same story about a young man lost amidst teen angst and confusion. Mathieu (Jeremie Elkaim, Banqueroute, Un Leger Different) is on vacation, hanging out on the beach with his sister and otherwise idling away his time. When he meets Cedric (Stephane Rideau, The Passengers, Sitcom), everything changes. Cedric is like nobody he ever met before.

Cedric is a major player, and set out to quickly seduce Mathieu. He succeeds, throwing Mathieu's mixed emotions further into turmoil. Is he gay? Is he straight? Does it matter? As portrayed by director Sebastien Lifshitz (Les Terres Froides, Les Corps Ouverts), Mathieu is boring. His search for identity does not seem to affect him greatly, he's just going with the flow. Lifshitz's narrative structure is also confusing at times. There are two stories happening simultaneously, both with Elkaim. The first takes place during the summer, the second occurs months later. The hard part is realizing that Mathieu is in both of them, because he looks so drastically different. As Come Undone nears its conclusion, Lifshitz reveals what happened to cause such a change in Mathieu. By the time this unfurls across the screen, no one cares.

Lifshitz, who wrote the script with Stephane Bouquet (Les Terres Froides, Les Corps Ouverts) show the lazy pace of Mathieu's summer by not doing anything with the story. Mathieu and Cedric hang out on the beach or laze around doing nothing. The Cedric character is the only person with a spark of life. He is intent on Mathieu, while Mathieu shows indifference. Slowly, Mathieu wants Cedric more, but it is more for experimentation than anything serious. Once their dependence on each other deepens, the story has them act strangely towards each other, expressing frustration and rage for no apparent reason. Mathieu's seeming indifference is the main reason why Come Undone does not succeed. Lifshitz wants to portray Mathieu as a confused teenager, but he focuses too hard on the contrast between Mathieu's dull life and Cedric's exciting one. This makes Mathieu, and the movie, look more like a dullard than anything else.

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 40 minutes, French with English subtitles, Not Rated but contains nudity, sexuality, and language, an easy NC-17.

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