Review: ‘Bang Gang,’ Seaside Orgies to a Soundtrack of Yawns


Marilyn Lima’s character, George, initiates games that evolve into orgies in “Bang Gang: A Modern Love Story.”

Samuel Goldwyn Films

What is distinctively contemporary about the French director Eva Husson’s teenage sex film, “Bang Gang: A Modern Love Story,” is its characters’ nonchalance. This portrait of middle-class teenagers fueled by Ecstasy, cocaine and pot, whiling away the hours and having group sex during a long hot summer in Biarritz, France, is remarkable for its shrugging attitude. Opposite in spirit to a shocker like Larry Clark’s “Kids,” “Bang Gang” doesn’t aim to titillate or to alarm.

These average-looking kids in their mid-to-late teens don’t have the sculpted bodies of models or porn stars. Even when their activities get out of hand and a video of one female participant is posted on YouTube, there is no condemnation or generalized panic. Pleasant as it is to look at nubile bodies entwined, the sex they have conveys little passion or erotic charge. The camera virtually yawns at all the goings-on.

To be clinical: There are brief scenes of two girls kissing, but the action is mostly mundane, nonacrobatic boy-girl sex. Except for a scene in which one mischievous boy strips naked by a swimming pool, genitalia — both male and female — are not seen.


Clip: ‘Bang Gang: A Modern Love Story’

A scene from the film.

By SAMUEL GOLDWYN FILMS on Publish Date May 24, 2016.

Image courtesy of Internet Video Archive.

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The initiator of games that evolve into orgies is George (Marilyn Lima), who is piqued when the group’s callous ringleader, Alex (Finnegan Oldfield), treats her with indifference after they hook up, and decides to stir things up. Games that begin as spin the bottle and truth or dare slowly turn into sex parties at Alex’s house while his parents are away. Even when copulating, Alex seems bored with it all.

The story shifts between the perspectives of George and her friend Laetitia (Daisy Broom), and Alex plays one against the other. Contrasted with Alex is Gabriel (Lorenzo Lefebvre), an earnest aspiring electronic composer and neighbor of Laetitia’s.

“Bang Gang” goes out of its way to avoid stereotyping. Where a Hollywood equivalent would almost certainly punish George, “Bang Gang” refuses to designate clear-cut heroes and villains. Its blasé attitude, however, goes only so far, as the group activity results in venereal disease and an unwanted pregnancy. But the world doesn’t end. There are quick, easy solutions: antibiotics and abortion. It’s no big deal. As one girl observes after the fact, it almost feels as if it never happened.

“Bang Gang: A Modern Love Story” is not rated. It is in French, with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 38 minutes.

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