In Which Juliette Binoche and Jeremy Irons Slap Each Other Like Seals

09/18/2009 10:07 AM |

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If Damage, screening tomorrow at BAM’s Juliette Binoche salute, is one of the greatest movies ever made about sexual obsession, this is likely because all of the principals involved seem savvy enough to the subject. Louis Malle’s films are often more decorative than deep, but when he hits a sexy note it’s stellar. (Think Jeanne Moreau shuddering in nothing but pearls in The Lovers, for instance.) And Jeremy Irons is, obviously, the ultimate cerebral perv (like Charlotte Rampling but with added deadpan absurdity). But Binoche is the soul of this picture; her exquisite face, often cute and always beautiful, sometimes distracts from an innate carnality that Malle noticed, has commented on, and used to the extreme in this film. The situations that the two lovers find themselves in are absolutely ridiculous, but that’s the point: Irons scares himself with his animalistic lack of control while Binoche complies sadly, giggling at his naivete. “How can you like that movie?” a friend asked.”Even the part where they slap each other like seals?” Shrug. Whatever floats yr boat.