Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story) (Bang Gang (Une histoire d'amour moderne)) Review
It's summer in France. Alex (Finnegan Oldfield) is alone in his house while his parents are away. He hangs around with his friend Nikita (Fred Hotier) and he sleeps with George (Marilyn Lima). Soon, they are joined by Laetitia (Daisy Broom), who also sleeps with Alex. Both Alex and Laetitia are interested in shy would-be musician Gabriel (Lorenzo Lefèbvre). A party at Alex's house turns into an orgy, with boys and girls having sex with each other decided by games of spin-the-bottle. This soon becomes a regular thing, the Bang Gang, with participants notified by text and a password-protected website…
Eva Husson's debut feature (being French, the title is pronounced, roughly, “Bong Gong”) is inspired by a true story, of a group of French teenagers who set up just such a Bang Gang, which only came to light when venereal disease went into the mix. The film aims to convey a mood – long, hot summer and disaffected bored teenagers, often naked (male as well as female) – but falls rather short due to most of the characters being little more than cyphers. There's no real central character: Alex gets a voiceover at the beginning and end, and George and Laetitia have more screen time than the others, but as a piece of character depiction Bang Gang falls short. Bang Gang works best as an atmospheric piece, but as drama it's underpowered.
There's certainly enough onscreen sex – softcore, and all of it heterosexual – to earn the film its 18 certificate and to make its point many times over, but it's all rather affectless and unaffecting. When the activities of the Bang Gang become known, the response falls along generational lines: an older one fought, protested and died in the name of a cause, yet all their granddaughters and grandsons can do to express their disaffection is to have sex with each other? And with infections of syphilis and one participant finding footage of herself on a porn site, it all turns sour very quickly.