Stranger by the Lake (2013)

Social distancing has kept my friends at arm’s length (and you should be social distancing as well so we can be done with this virus bullshit AND ACTUALLY SEE OUR FRIENDS AGAIN!), but through the power of the internet I’ve been able to watch some movies with the gang. One of such movie was L’Inconnu du lac, AKA Stranger by the Lake, a French film about murder and gay guys fucking. The film has received a bunch of praise, but we thought it was… interesting.

Our protagonist is Franck, a guy who frequents a beach that’s mainly a gay hookup spot. He befriends Henri, an absolute sweetheart of a man who isn’t looking to hookup but just wants some platonic companionship after a breakup. But Franck has eyes for Michel, a Tom Selleck-looking mother fucker who DROWNS A DUDE! Franck is the only witness to this blatant crime, but Michel doesn’t know that. Franck does the right thing and immediately contacts the authorities, who arrest Michel. Just kidding! He pretends like nothing happened so he can fuck Michel! He’s wary to go swimming with Michel, LIKE HE FUCKING SHOULD, but I guess enjoys that dick too much. Things get tense when the body is found and Henri figures out that Michel was the one who did it. Michel murders Henri, then kills an inspector that had been poking around, and chases after Franck. The movie ends with Franck hiding in the dark, safe from the killer. JUST KIDDING! He calls out to Michel and the movie ends ambiguously on whether he’s gonna get stabbed, too!

This movie was a lot to process, and that’s not even counting the various scenes of explicit gay sex (seriously, I can’t think of the last non-porn film that had this many dicks in it, and even most of those have less sex). But the whole premise is based on the idea that Michel’s dick was too good to report to the police, which is just… I don’t get it. I can’t bring myself to get it. None of us got it. You’ve seen him murder at least three people, Franck! How shitty is your self-esteem that you still want to get with him? Of course, Franck’s mental state is not directly brought up and there were no clear reasons as to why he’d make such awful decisions.

The best way I can describe this slow moving movie is that I wasn’t enjoying it but I would be upset if I didn’t see how it ended; but upon seeing the ending, I still got upset.


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