In Francois Ozon's SWIMMING POOL, Charlotte Rampling plays Sarah Morton, a prim and proper British author who has written a successful series of mystery-crime novels. However, when she visits her London publisher (Charles Dance) in a dour mood, wearing a depressive pout, and complains that she's no longer his favourite, he invites her to use his holiday home in the south of France as a tranquil escape to try her hand at writing something a little bit different. Once there, Sarah receives an unexpected and highly unwelcome visit from his bold, sexy, confrontational teenage daughter Julie (Ludivine Sagnier). The two are instantly at odds with each other, as Julie drinks, smokes, and slinks around the pool topless. Her loose sexual mores and mysterious late nights infuriate Sarah, whose puritanical unease is only exacerbated in Julie's presence. Wonderful scenes of Sarah writing at her computer, her lips twitching wickedly with twisted inspiration, indicate that the story is about to take a turn for the weird. And that it does, quickly, as booze-clouded activities by the swimming pool become dark and seedy.
In this immaculate thriller, Rampling and Sagnier ignite the screen with static tension. Stunted conversations, resentful glances, and strange insights about the personality of each character give the story a tangible electricity. The idyllic French home and sun-drenched swimming pool put an ironic spin on the haunting story. And as Ozon works his magic with pensive camerawork, providing moments of true visual comedy that only enhance the plot's intrigue, viewers will delight in what is at once an understated yet powerful narrative feat.