Let the Corpses Tan, the latest from Belgian team Cattet & Forzani, is a deliriously degenerate mash-up of spaghetti western, giallo and poliziotteschi that does more than arrest the eye: it positively holds it captive. Never mind the barebones story, about a vicious gang trying to hide their horde of stolen gold in sun-drenched Corsica. Never mind that there are maybe one too many characters, with alliances that shift so constantly that keeping track is exhausting. These elements don’t end up mattering in the grand scheme of things, because the delight is in watching the directors hit accelerate on their ultra-stylization of the events. Deeply-saturated 16mm foregrounds an endless amount of inserts and smash cuts and cross cuts and everything in between, as characters and their faces rush in and out of frame while time ticks on, not waiting for anyone to breathe. Leather creaks, guns blast, flames crackle, and chaos reigns. It seems that the only true reprieves we get occur within the characters’ kinky fantasies, which are ruled by a Fate-like woman giving golden showers and getting down with some bondage. Such crass fetishization shows that these characters are pretty fucked up, which in turn makes this gaudy gorefest less of a strain on the emotions. Without anyone to really root for, you can sit back and just let the colourful extravaganza dazzle.
I’m not going to deny that it can be a little much at times. As someone whose taste gravitates around nuance and quiet interiority, this kind of caffeinated cinematic aggression is something I can only tolerate in measured bouts. But luckily it does not drag on for longer than it needs to, and when it really gets going, it’s too exciting to turn down. I was sort of like Elina Löwensohn’s character, just sitting back and enjoying the high of all the mayhem. Will it work for you? Well, if what I just wrote made you grimace, then no, it won’t. However, if you like blood-pounding madness and love your hues in violent shades, then Let the Corpses Tan will put you in a trance you may never want to leave.