"American Translation" is a twisted sexual journey through the mind of a killer. By following an abusive relationship, the film delves into the impulses that drive an emotionally damaged person to murder. It seems virtually impossible to understand what would possess a person to destroy another. "American Translation" manages to shed a light on this risque world.
A misanthropic half-American girl Aurore (Lizzie Brocheré) meets a sexy grifter Chris (Pierre Perrier). They quickly enter into an obsessive relationship that slowly degrades into darkness. As their romance intensifies, he shares his love for murdering gay hustlers. Over time, the film shows Aurore's descent into pathos and self destruction as we learn more about Chris' murderous inclinations.
Through Aurore's random moments of speaking English with her boyfriend the audience can grow to understand a virtually impossible perspective. Why would someone stay with a man who has a predilection for not only gay sex but also murder? Through this criminal romance we get some "Dexter"-like insight into his homicidal sexual urges.
"American Translation" explores some pretty dark subject matter. However, it does take you on a psychological journey. In his director's statement, the special feature on the DVD, Pascal Arnold explains how he studied serial killers and wanted to demonstrate their murderous instincts through this relationship. He used interviews with killers in crafting his story.
As the relationship descends into madness, the film grows more and more sexual. The raw sexuality paired with the emotional intensity takes you to a dark place films most films dare not go. Through a lens of sex and codependent obsession, we can explore the mind of a serial killer.
"American Translation" is a French film that pulls no punches. Abusive relationships, sexual obsession, bisexuality and serial murder....are just some of the topics explored in this thought-provoking film. At times titillating, at other times disturbing and heart-wrenching, this film will take you to a place you wouldn't necessarily want to go but will feel differently for having visited.