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A rustic in every respect, French director Bruno Dumont (The Life of Jesus, L'Humanité) was out of his element when he traveled to the U.S. for the lamentable Twentynine Palms (2003). He strays from his home turf in Flanders too, as three brutish farm-boy soldiers ship off to an unnamed Middle Eastern country to commit and suffer a string of atrocities reminiscent of The Deer Hunter and Full Metal Jacket. Dumont is much more confident when he sticks to the title town and the young woman the men left behind; his habit of alternating close shots with extreme long shots and his singularly unsentimental way of showing sex are as distinctive as ever. In French with subtitles. 91 min.

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