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Review: Hors Satan

By PETER KEOUGH  |  January 30, 2013
3.0 3.0 Stars



God works in strange ways, especially when Bruno Dumont directs him. Or is that the devil? The distinctions blur in this pre-verbal, meditatively paced parable set in the Biblical-looking Opal Coast of France. A stranger (David Dewaele) lives in a tent outside of town. He prays to the sunrise and, on occasion, visits peasants seeking a miracle. For some cases, like dealing with an abusive stepfather, he uses a shotgun. The woman (Alexandra Lemâtre) he rescues from the latter situation becomes his apostle, and together they roam the countryside, speaking in broken banalities. Dumont establishes a lulling pattern of long shots of unearthly landscapes, close-ups of the pair gazing at the landscape, and longs shots of them as tiny figures engulfed by it. Comparisons have been made to Pasolini's The Gospel According to St. Matthew, and there are also elements of Bresson, Dreyer, and The Exorcist. Whatever faith Dumont is espousing, it almost makes sense with the film's climactic miracle.

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