Swimming Pool [2003]

Director: Francois Ozon
Stars: Charlotte Rampling, Ludivine Sagnier, Charles Dance, Marc Fayolle, Jean-Marie Lamour
Genre: Thriller
Rating: Unrated
Runtime: 103 minutes

In terms of alluring female nudity, Swimming Pool shows a lot, but it's what remains concealed that gives this erotic thriller a potent, voyeuristic charge. With his Hitchcockian handling of secrets and lies, prolific French director Fran├žois Ozon reunites with his Under the Sand star, Charlotte Rampling, to tell a seductive tale of murder and complicity, beginning when British mystery novelist Sarah Morton (Rampling) seeks peace and relaxation at her publisher's French villa, only to find his brash, sexually liberated daughter Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) arriving shortly thereafter to disrupt her solitary reverie. What begins as mutual annoyance turns into something more sinister and duplicitous, alternating between Julie's predatory sex with men and Sarah's observant, perhaps jealous fascination. These two women, generations apart, share in Ozon's delicate dance of trust, curiosity, and gradual understanding, until a twist ending that forces you to reevaluate everything you've seen. Only then will the mysteries of Swimming Pool be fully and tantalizingly revealed. (Note: The unrated version contains full-frontal nudity that's been edited from the rated version. In both versions, the overall plot is not affected.) --Jeff Shannon

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