Baise-Moi (18)

Review by Simon Bell

FUCK me. Screw me. Rape me. Take your pick: Each one of these literal translations of the film's title tells you most of what you need to know.

Co-directors Virginie Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi adapt the former's best-selling book about the tribulations of two girlfriends who embark on a gruesome trail of sex and death after one of them is gang-raped.

From the moment the killing spree starts proper, to its bloodbath finale in an underground fuckclub via its depiction of male sexual humiliation (one unlucky recipient of the pair's attentions ends up with barf on his balls; another gets a bullet up the butt while being forced to squeak piggy squeak), we're rewarded with a remorseless bombardment of hardcore porn (yes, you ACTUALLY SEE THEM AT IT!) thinly wrapped in an empty-headed narrative of sadistic and gory female revenge rage. Then again, I never did get feminism.

It's difficult to feel aroused at the 87-minute genital spectacular, kicking off as it does with the pitilessly vivid and very brutal gang rape sequence - acted out with non-simulated sex to add to the abhorrence - that lingers long after the victims have escaped the empty warehouse. (Mind you, sitting between Alexander Walker and The Observer's Philip French would stifle the pant-rumblings of a 13-year-old with Kylie in his lap.)

A message delivered by way of dehumanized images of hard-ons, T&A, and plenty of the old in-out, in-out (we're spared the money shots but, alas, not the man fat), Baise-Moi is nevertheless a milestone in the history of British film classification and comes in the wake of Intimacy's polemical penis; A mere 10-second penetration shot has been deemed worthy of excision for it's big screen release.

It's shot on grainy digital video (to keep it real, naturally) and Despentes was herself a prostitute. Trinh Thi and the joint leads Karen Bach (Nadine) and Rafaella Anderson (Manu), meanwhile, are skin flick veterans. This of course helps in generating the rawness necessary for such a story, but it still plays like Thelma and Louise (1991) without the humour or profundity. It's all controversy and style minus the content.

Trinh Thi, responding to a question of whether explicit genuine sex is pornographic, says: 'Porn is made specifically to masturbate over, which you can't really do with Baise-Moi because the shots aren't long enough.' Hmm. Thanks for that.