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USA 1982
Directed by
Paul Bartel
83 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
David. M Brown
3 stars

Eating Raoul

Synopsis: The Blands (Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov) are an uptight couple who want nothing more than to own their own family restaurant. She is a nurse and he works in a bottleshop trying to force his high-class tastes onto an unwilling clientele. After he is fired they realise that their dream is getting further and further away. They stumble onto a plan; they invite swingers into their house and murder them for their money. Soon cash is flooding in but a house thief, Raoul (Robert Beltran), uncovers their murderous deeds and blackmails the Bland's who decide they have to get rid of him.

Paul Bartel directs and stars in this black comedy of errors. Whether dealing with sex, death or comedy his films, including such cult classics as Deathrace 2000, Cannonball and Lust In The Dust, all evidence an auteur with his tongue firmly in cheek.

Ex-Warhol superstar Mary Woronov stars as Mary Bland, a comedic performance light years away from her role in Warhol's harrowing The Chelsea Girls. In one delightful scene she cavorts dressed as a hippy whilst psychedelic lights cascade over the room. One can't help thinking of her go-go dancing as The Velvet Underground played during Warhol's legendary Exploding Plastic Inevitable nights.

The film is full of cameo appearances including John Landis and Joe Dante and delightful black touches and its tone remains remarkably light, emulating small screen sit-com style despite following the lives of a murderous couple whose weapon of choice is a frying pan. The fact that their final cannibalistic meal is a welcome denouement shows how well Bartel has developed his characters.

Robert Beltran is great as the thief-turned-snack, Raoul. Another of Bartel's regular players, he also starred with Woronov in the director's Scenes From A Struggle A Beverly Hills, a diatribe against the plastic wonder that is Hollywood. Bartel has always remained a fiercely independent filmmaker.

Not a rip-roaring laugh riot but rather an amusing look into the depths to which people are willing to sink to for money. Bartel's gentle touch and the film's great performances elevate Eating Raoul to a tasty comedy full of deliciously black comic ingredients.




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