Disclaimer: I might have fallen asleep. I don't generally (although I thought I had when I saw Joseph Kahn's Detention at a late FrightFest screening, only to rent the DVD months later and find that I hadn't nodded off at all, it was actually like that) unless I'm really, genuinely, cataclysmically bored out of my head - and I'm afraid that I may well have been drifting in and out of this one. Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani have always gone for visual style rather than narrative content: the films are absolutely, astonishingly beautiful, with pretty much any frame being worthy of a gallery wall. Amer had no plot to speak of, just a trio of isolated, inconsequential moments in a young girl's life brought to the screen with the sublime visual artistry of peak Argento. The Strange Colour Of Your Body's Tears had the starting point of a story, with a husband arriving home to find his wife missing, but then broke down into the illogic of dreams, albeit magnificently designed and photographed.
The problem with Let The Corpses Tan is that it has a much more obvious narrative but this time the visual style gets in the way. It still looks great, but this time around there's an actual drama you're supposed to be interested in - and I wasn't. Too busy looking at it to get involved. A gang of thieves with a quarter of a ton of bullion hide out in a coastal villa, but they're not the only ones there: an author and his muse and a couple of local gendarmes. (This last sentence had to be constructed with the help of the IMDb because in all honesty the film's plot has largely drained out of my memory, leaving only fragments like last night's dream.)
A compilation soundtrack from Morricone, Cipriani, Fidenco and Frizzi make for some compensation, but it doesn't work dramatically: the music gives the film some feeling of Eurocrime and vintage Italian exploitation but the photography and pacing have none of the required grit, energy and urgency. Similarly, the crisp facial closeups and dazzling teal skies suck you into the film's beauty, but they act as a distraction from the narrative that includes graphic gunshot violence and bloody gore shots. I really wanted to like it, hoping that a strong A-Z story would thrive under Cattet and Forzani's visual eye, but the end result is a film that doesn't seem to know what it is: art movie or action thriller. A pity.