Thursday 23 November 2017

Crimes of love and of plot development

Film Review: Crime d'amour. Director: Alain Corneau Stars: Ludivine Sagnier, Kristin Scott Thomas, Patrick Mille, Olivier Rabourdin

Paul Whitington

Alain Corneau, who died in 2010 shortly after completing Crime d'Amour, made his fair share of interesting movies, including Série Noire and Tous les Matins du Monde.

But this clumsy attempt at a noir thriller is not the film he will be remembered for.

Kristin Scott Thomas, who only appears in French these days, stars as Christine Riviére, a haughty (Scott Thomas doesn't do humble) and highhanded corporate executive who positively oozes success.

She lives in a beautiful, ultramodern house in the Parisian suburbs, and runs the French arm of an American corporation.

She relies heavily on her junior associate, the clever and ambitious Isabelle Guérin (Ludivine Sagnier), whom she flatters and teases with vague promises of promotion.

But Christine is using Isabelle for her own ends, and when the younger woman finds out that her ideas have been consistently stolen, relations begin to sour.

The pitch is further queered when Isabelle has an affair with Christine's lover, Philippe (Patrick Mille), and later realises that even that was orchestrated by her devious boss. In fact, Isabelle seems entirely defeated until an abrupt twist.

Full of absurd scenarios and constant, over-acted catty confrontations, Crime d'Amour has the feel of a bad soap opera and might be vaguely enjoyable were it not so intent on taking itself seriously.

Scott Thomas has played these arch bitches so often even she is finding it hard to care, but in fairness her character makes little sense, and her relationship with her subordinate is completely unconvincing.

An extended explanation late on is tedious in the extreme, and insults the intelligence. Double Indemnity it ain't.

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