Movie: Most people have had some experience with romance, typically good and bad, and that's probably a major reason why so many movies are made about the subject. In Hollywood movies, the topic is usually handled in one of two ways: either a sappy romantic comedy approach where you know the ending before the movie is halfway over (Two Weeks Notice comes to mind), or the suspense/horror outing where the romance turns sour, quickly. To get an outside look at romance, at least outside in terms of what Americans are familiar with, I try and watch foreign movies on a regular basis. One such movie was the interesting Bad Company.
The movie centered on the life of a shy young girl in middle school, Delphine, who falls for a guy, Laurent, that is not worthy of her. Obviously, one of the pair must be unworthy or there wouldn't be anything worth watching (no point of tension). In any case, when he seems to reciprocate her love, albeit in a limited fashion, she becomes willing to do anything to please him. Adding to the mix here, and perhaps the only reason Delphine is emboldened enough to pursue her love, is a new classmate with a somewhat relaxed outlook on sexual and social mores, Olivia. Olivia is free spirit of sorts and the mousy Delphine learns from her, too easily, about life. Laurent, who is shown to care only for his own needs to the exclusion of all others, takes advantage of the situation, as would any other sleezeball (he'd be right at home carrying suitcases in Chatsworth California).
As much as certain aspects of the movie truly disgusted me, and it takes a lot to bother a jaded old porn watcher like myself, I thought this was an excellent movie. Rather than rely on a host of clichés, the director uses the wonderful performances of the leads and runs with his vision. And make no mistake, the performances really were exceptional by the young cast. At no time did I feel that they were going through the motions, fumbling with the material, or acting in anything other than absolute character.
If the acting was so great, what about the story? Well, the theme of unrequited love is a common one in movies and you'd think there would be no way to tread new ground. That's partially true but how it's handled here is pretty solid. To what lengths would you go to please someone if you were in love with someone? Even further, if it were your first love, with all those youthful hormones raging throughout your body, would you have any limits? The movie explores this in far deeper fashion than most anything you'd find in a mainstream Hollywood release (certainly due to the age of the lead and the sexual content) and does it well.
The music and setting, in France, really added to the overall picture here. The characters were deep enough, and complex enough, to make this one a winner with lots of replay value. As such, I think that it's reasonable to Highly Recommend Bad Company even if one of the main plot devices made me nauseous.
Picture: The picture was presented in 1.85:1 ratio anamorphic widescreen. The Colors were generally solid and the fleshtones accurate with only a few minor flaws. The subject matter was absorbing enough that I really didn't notice any dvd transfer problems either.
Sound: The sound was presented in stereo with some separation between the channels and in French with optional English subtitles. The vocals were clear and the music really worked for me.
Extras: some trailers with no insert.
Final Thoughts: A combination of acting, story, and technical aspects pulled together to make this one worth giving high marks to. I was drawn into young Delphine's world and had a lot of sympathy for Olivia as well. That Laurent was such a sleaze in so many little ways (repeated viewings allowed me to see more each time) that his ultimate betrayal of Delphine was expected yet in such stark contrast to her deep love for him that I felt for her even more than I had after her personality was established. Not a movie for all tastes but certainly worth checking out.