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Heading South review

Mention sex tourism and one thinks of sweaty fat men wearing ill-fitting shirts. In Laurent Cantet's murky drama, however, the pleasure-seekers are wealthy middle-aged women who travel to '70s Haiti to be serviced by burly black beach boys. But what's impressive about the French writer-director's follow-up to 2001's Time Out is the way he downplays the more lurid aspects of this tale in favour of a layered, contemplative look at the emotional fallout experienced by both sides.

 

With Charlotte Rampling and Karen Young competing for the affections of Menothy Cesar's cocksure man-whore, this is at its core a twisted ménage à trois set against a menacing backdrop of brutal dictatorship. The parallels between the visitors' benign exploitation and the military junta's harsh repression are there to be drawn.

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