Buried in boredom

Under the Sand

Directed by Francois Ozon

(Charlotte Rampling, Bruno Cremer, Jacques Nolot,



French directors of today meet biannually at the Hotel Atlantic in Paris. Over bottle after bottle of 1974 Chateau Baison merlot they deliberate for hours on end as twelve dollar packs of cigarettes are inhaled at a furious pace. As night presses on, candles are lit and glazed, and succulent hams arrive with dollops of goose liver gravy to feed their weary mouths. The reasons for this rendezvous, you ask? To think of new ways to bore American audiences with their films.

Congratulations, Francois Ozon, you’ve done your homework. Under the Sand is boring, it will bore you.

Those loyalists to the French cinema who deify Eric Rohmer or other acclaimed Parisian directors of yesteryear may call to hand my hastiness in such a generalization. Well, my fine, furry friends, you too may find yourself checking your Timex Indiglo more than thrice.

Under the Sand concerns Marie (our old pal Charlotte Rampling), who loses her husband one day at the beach. Did he drown? Was he kidnapped? Did he run down the beach like in Rocky 3, frolicking with Apollo Creed in the frothy waves? Well, no one knows and apparently, here’s where the movie is supposed to kick in.

Segue to a long, uneventful ninety minutes where Marie must “deal” without her husband and live life for herself. Yawn. Good God, Francois, I’m not saying you have to throw in a gang of ninjas or a roller-skating bear but, dammit man, give me something. The grief of losing a loved one is undoubtedly traumatic and very damaging to one’s life. Tackling that issue via Marie’s slow slide into senility is one way to do it, yet to do so with minimalism is very tiring to an audience. Little to no music, action and dialogue for the majority of the scenes leave my brain unfulfilled and my typing finger very upset.

-Sean McGrath


Under the Sand opens today at the Lagoon Cinema.