Wild Camp

"Very Good"

Wild Camp Review


A title like Wild Camp lends itself to all kinds of connoations -- none of which indicate a very good movie might be coming -- but this French pseudo-thriller is actually not half bad.

I've read that this movie is based on true events (though the film itself does allude to them and I can't confirm that anywhere), and it plays out with the almost clinical plotting that indicates it could be "ripped from the headlines." Either way, it sounds familiar: Vacationing at a low-budget camp with her parents, Camille (Isild Le Besco) lives a usual life of drinking beer, wearing next to nothing, and wasting away most of the summer. Enter Blaise (Denis Lavant, France's answer to Billy Bob Thornton), the brother-in-law of the camp director, a sad sack who finds pity and a job at the camp. Despite the unlikelihood, Camille (20 years younger and two inches taller) takes a fancy to Blaise, and soon they're canoodling and launching mega gossip throughout the camp. Naturally, Camille's boyfriend dislikes this turn of events, and ultimately things turn nasty.

At a mere 80 minutes or so in length, Wild Camp is hardly a challenging experience. The plotting is straightforward and lacks nuance, and there is rarely much mystery where Wild Camp is going to take you. Even the third act, which features an impossible-to-explain act of violence, can be seen coming from a mile away.

And yet, Wild Camp is easy to watch despite its familiarity, thanks to strong performances from Le Besco (playing the petulant teen perfectly) and especially Lavant, whose pathetic yet hopeful demeanor makes you root for him, despite his lack of redeeming features. (While he's giving Camille the business, his wife is raising their infant by herself.)

Christophe Ali and Nicolas Bonilauri's direction is fine for this tale, though their script could have stood some additional work. Fans of the latest trend toward bleak, dystopic French cinema will probably enjoy the film more than others, but nearly everyone is likely to find it at least a decent distraction.

Aka Camping sauvage.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Christophe Ali, Nicolas Bonilauri

Producer: Tom Dercourt

Starring: as Blaise, as Camille, as Eddie, Jean-Michel Guerin as Antoine, Martine Demaret as Edwige, Raphaëlle Misrahi as Laure, Emmanuelle Bercot as Florence, Marcel Fix as Le grand-père, Yann Trégouët as Fred

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