Capsule Review: Rendez-Vous (2015)

A Dutch couple Simone (Loes Haverkort) and Eric (Mark van Eeuwen) as well as their two kids moved to a ramshackle farmhouse in France owned by her recently deceased mother. Planning to renovate the farmhouse into a bed and breakfast, they end up hiring a Dutch contractor Peter (Peter Paul Muller) who happens to live in the neighbourhood. As the renovation gets underway, Simone is immediately attracted to one of Peter’s handsome construction workers Michel (Pierre Boulanger). Needless to say, they eventually fall in love and things don’t go well from there.

At the first glance, Rendez-Vous is beautiful to look at. Jeroen de Bruin’s cinematography is visually captivating as he successfully captured the lush landscape of the French countryside with a subtle mix of aerial shots. Loes Haverkort, in the meantime, is easy on the eyes. Antoinette Beumer’s direction starts off good with a decent domestic drama as we witness the Dutch couple trying to adjust to their new foreign surroundings while coping with a language barrier.

However, the centrepiece of the drama which involves Simone’s tryst with Michel fails to ignite the necessary spark or passion. The infidelity scene instantly reminds me of Adrian Lyne’s Unfaithful (2002) starring Diane Lane and Olivier Martinez, which also shared a similar plot point where a bored/mundane housewife falls in love with a young hunk. Whereas Unfaithful fulfils its genre convention by actually making the love scene erotic, the scene in Rendez-Vous is all hollow sex and nudity.

If that’s not enough, the movie grows preposterous once Marjolein Beumer and Dorien Goertzen’s screenplay switches gear from an adulterous drama to a thriller towards the climactic finale. There’s a little build-up for suspense and even by the time the truth reveals surrounding the infidelity between Simone and Michel, the final resolution deflates with a disappointing coda.

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