Elle

"Excellent"

Elle Review


There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences right the way through to a chilling climax. Directed by Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct), it's all rather bonkers, but it's also darkly grounded in a multi-layered performance from the great Isabelle Huppert. Shocking plot twists, nasty violence and sex, characters who refuse to behave like the usual stereotypes - the film is bracingly original and riotously unforgettable.

Huppert plays Michele, who owns a Paris videogame company with her best friend Anna (Anne Consigny). She's utterly unapologetic about how she approaches her life, including the fact that she has just been violently assaulted by a masked man who broke into her home. But there's a reason for her refusal to go to the police: when she was 10, her father went on a violent killing spree, putting her face all over the press as her father was sentenced to life in prison. Even so, her ex-husband Richard (Charles Berling) is horrified that she wouldn't report a rape to the cops. Her nervous neighbours Patrick and Rebecca (Laurent Lafitte and Virginie Efira) offer support. But Michele insists on handling everything on her own terms, including how she deals with her senile mother (Judith Magre) and her dim son (Jonas Bloquet) and his psycho pregnant girlfriend (Alice Isaaz).

As always, Huppert underplays the role beautifully, conveying more in a stony glance than most actors do with an emotional tirade. She gives Michele a fierce internal energy that leads to jaw-dropping actions. As her situation gets increasingly urgent, Alice refuses to panic. It's a tour-de-force performance that often takes the breath away because Michele's stubbornness is so blackly hilarious. The other characters swirl around her haplessly, and each actor adds his or her own details that bring them to life in unexpected ways.

All of this is directed by Verhoeven and written by David Birke with a continual sense that anything might happen next. Scenes are filled with innuendo and jagged humour. And Michele's past is cleverly woven in to provide a striking statement about society's gossipy obsession with grisly news stories (her father's crime became a sensationalistic movie that's regularly shown on TV). All of this makes the film wildly entertaining, touching on bigger issues as its plot gets increasingly crazed. Michele's Christmas dinner is one of the most outrageous scenes in cinema this year. And as the story spirals to its twisted final scenes, the film leaves us feeling like we've just taken a gleefully nasty roller-coaster ride.

Rich Cline



Elle

Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 130 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th November 2016

Distributed by: SBS Productions

Production compaines: SBS Productions, Entre Chien et Loup

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 50 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Said Ben Said, Michel Merkt

Starring: as Michelle, as Patrick, as Anna, as Richard, Virginie Efira as Rebecca, as Robert, Judith Magre as Irène, Jonas Bloquet as Vincent, Alice Isaaz as Josie, Vimala Pons as Hélène, Raphaël Lenglet as Ralph, Arthur Mazet as Kevin, Lucas Prisor as Kurt, Jina Djemba as une infirmière

Contactmusic

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