For the first twenty minutes or so, this looks like an all too familiar chirpy French rural comedy: wiggly, pert-buttocked coquette-cum-slut Adjani arrives in a small French village and sets the local manhood afire with lust and rumour. Then the tone shifts and we're all set to discover that she's out for revenge for some outrage inflicted on her in childhood. Things still look predictable, but as the film progresses, become more and more complex; events are related in differing ways by the various characters, and Adjani's role takes on deepening and more disturbing perspectives. Just as beneath the glossy visuals there lie murky and enigmatic themes of exploitation, treachery and falsehood, so the initial stereotypes are gradually peeled away to reveal confused characters played with an increasing intensity by a fine cast, none more so than Adjani herself. Directed with verve, the film rarely departs from the commercial mainstream, but within those conventions it operates with assurance, subtlety and plenty of surprises.
One Deadly Summer
Cast and crew