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Swimming Pool

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating

By Marcy Dermansky

Swimming Pool

Ludivine Sagnier and Charlotte Rampling

Big-bosomed, small-waisted French actress Ludivine Sagnier parades topless for more than half of her appearances in Francois Ozon's English language film "Swimming Pool." The surprise, therefore, is that the film, a thriller that aims for the suspense of classic Hitchcock, is not sexy or erotic or even particularly thrilling.

Charlotte Rampling plays Sarah Morton, an uptight English crime writer, who takes refuge in her publisher's isolated house in the French countryside to revive her creative juices. She is disturbed by the arrival of the publisher's daughter Julie, an emotionally unbalanced sexpot (Ludivine Sagnier). The film works best in its comedic second act. The discomfort of the prim and proper writer unnerved by the topless blond hellion who drinks and screws and eats with abandon is funny -- Rampling sneaking bites of sausage and swilling the younger woman's wine just to refill it with water is quite wonderful.

The promised thrills, however, do not satisfy. Francois Ozon is far too enamored of his script: a writer who writes about murders and cover-ups becomes enmeshed in her very own cover-up.

Rampling's Morton types feverishly at her laptop computer, blending the events by the pool into a new and daring book unlike any other she has written before. (All the while giving the impression, that novels can be pounded out with ease while on vacation.) "Swimming Pool" becomes a clever exercise leading up to a surprise ending that left me feeling tricked and betrayed.
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