xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
She is the only woman in a gay nightclub. She goes into the toilet and cuts her wrist. He follows her in, sees what she has done, and takes her to a drugstore, where the wound is bandaged. If you cut your wrist and there's time to go to the drugstore, maybe you weren't really trying. He asks her why she did it. "Because I'm a woman," she says, although she might more accurately have replied, "Because I'm a woman in a Catherine Breillat movie."
Breillat is the bold French director whose specialty is female sexuality. Sometimes she is wise about it, as in "36 Fillette" (1988), the story of a troubled teenager who begins a series of risky flirtations with older men. Or in "Fat Girl" (2001), about the seething resentment of a pudgy 12-year-old toward her sexpot older sister. Sometimes she is provocative about it, as in "Romance" (1999), which is about a frustrated woman's dogged search for orgasm. But sometimes she is just plain goofy, as in "Anatomy of Hell," which plays like porn dubbed by bitter deconstructionist theoreticians.
The Woman makes an offer to The Man. She will pay him good money to watch her, simply watch her, for four nights. He keeps his end of the bargain, but there were times when I would have paid good money to not watch them, simply not watch them. I remember when hard-core first became commonplace, and there were discussions about what it would be like if a serious director ever made a porn movie. The answer, judging by "Anatomy of Hell," is that the audience would decide they did not require such a serious director after all.
The Woman believes men hate women, and that gay men hate them even more than straight men, who, however, hate them quite enough. Men fear woman, fear their menstrual secrets, fear their gynecological mysteries, fear that during sex they might disappear entirely within the woman and be imprisoned again by the womb. To demonstrate her beliefs, The Woman disrobes completely and displays herself on a bed, while The Man sits in a chair and watches her, occasionally rousing himself for a shot of Jack on the rocks.