Oct. 10, 2017 at 2:43 p.m.
Review: THIRST STREET (2017)
Lindsay Burdge, Damien Bonnard, Esther Garrel, Lola Bessis, Cindy Silver, Valerie Laury, Jacques Nolot, Francoise Lebrun, Anjelica Huston.
Directed by Nathan Silver
Anjelica Huston narrates this sensual tale of a flight attendant named Gina (Lindsay Burdge) who falls for a French bartender named Jérôme (Damien Bonnard) while on a layover in Paris. Director Nathan Silver drops the audience into cringeworthy territory as Gina’s compulsion turns into fatal attraction while Burdge delivers a first-rate performance as the damaged protagonist. Shot with an aspect ratio that resembles cinemascope, “Thirst Street” is a psychosexual thriller that dips into giallo territory.
After casting Burdge in a supportive role for his 2016 film "Actor Martinez," writer-director Silver decided to construct a project for the talented actress. “Thirst Street” co-written by C. Mason Wells goes from disturbing to awkward while dropping in humor to keep the audience entertained. Huston’s narration, like Alec Baldwin’s in "The Royal Tenenbaums" sets the tone for the erotic yet tastefully shot thriller that doesn’t fit comfortably under any specific genre.
The film opens by showing the audience how Gina became damaged goods. Like her coworkers, we sympathize with Gina who is trying to get over a traumatic event. Her two best friends decide to bribe a tarot card reader to deliver a positive reading while the three flight attendants are on a Paris layover. The fortune teller predicts that a new love interest will come into Gina’s life so she begins eyeballing every man she sees on the streets of Paris. Later that evening the three BFFs hit a guidebook-recommended Cabaret club only to discover that the venue has become a full-fledged strip bar.
Gina meets cabaret bartender Jérôme, a player who lays on the Parisian charm to get her in the sack. He figures it’s another one-night stand but not Gina. After the convincing tarot reading she assumes he must be “the one.” You can guess what happens next. Gina takes a nose dive into the abyss as she becomes fixated with Jérôme who doesn’t have the balls to end the torrid romance before things get out of hand. She eventually moves to Paris and gets a job as a waitress at the cabaret to be closer to Jérôme while disregarding all the hints that it’s over. Gina even rents an apartment across from Jérôme's flat so she can stalk the Frenchman at all times.
Burdge is fantastic as Gina. She handles the role with subtlety taking us from one uncomfortable moment to the next with plenty of laughs along the way. Cinematographer Sean Price Williams gives the film a vibe that echoes those giallo Italian horror films of the 70’s while Silver handles the sex scenes tastefully. Gina’s uncomfortable karaoke performance of “Time is On My Side” aimed at Jérôme while he sits next to his rock star ex-girlfriend is worth the price of admission. I didn’t even mention the floating case of “pink eye.”
Now playing at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar (Austin). Opens Wednesday October 11 at Alamo Drafthouse Mason Park (Houston).
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