Gaspar Noé has been working hard to build up a reputation as the enfant terrible of modern film-making. In his previous outings, I Stand Alone, Irreversible and Enter the Void, he set about assaulting the viewer; using the camera as a weapon of violence to beat the audience to a bloody pulp. In his new film, Love, he departs from this commitment to tackle ‘sentimental sex’; showing normal sex in a loving relationships on the big screen.

Murphy (Karl Glusman) is an American film student living in Paris. Electra (Aomi Muyock) is an artist. The pair embark on a relationship and fall deeply in love. What begins as experimentation with a new neighbour Omi (Klara Kristin), leads to a trail of accusation and recrimination; heavily influenced by drugs and alcohol. As Murphy becomes increasingly paranoid about Electra, a fling with Omi results in her getting pregnant.

Love works for the first hour. It’s beautifully shot and cleverly soundtracked. The sex scenes are probably the most naturalistic and realistic to be shown in mainstream cinema. There’s a threesome which is beautiful. The story is told in a unconventional timeframe which works well. Unfortunately, it then becomes rather fragmented, repetitive and boring; the sex seemingly losing its relevance. Irreversible’s main sequences are oddly referenced. It’s inevitably for the middle scene in the underpass is the scene most people remember but I found the ending tear-jerkingly beautiful. There’s a similar scenario here but it lacks a similar emotional impact. The end is nice, but ultimately Love seems to lack the substance for Noé to actually successfully make his point.

Love (3D) is screened in cinemas for one night only tomorrow. It’s available to watch digitally from Friday.