Like her career, Michèle has always micromanaged her life; she's constantly in control and has an demeanour about her that makes her almost indestructible. This is all changed when she is attacked in her home, a space people associate as a safe haven.
Michèle deals with the attack in her own way and tracks down the man who assaulted her and the foes are both drawn into a dangerous game which could lead to either of them being killed.
Elle is based on Philippe Djian's novel 'Oh', director Paul Verhoeven explains how he was given the original idea from producer Said Ben Said: "The idea wasn't mine; it came from the producer, Saïd Ben Saïd. He contacted me in the US, sent me Philippe Djian's novel, which I read and found very interesting. I knew we had the material for a movie, but I had to think it through and find my way of appropriating a story I would never have come up with myself."
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.
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Carole Bouquet is a cinematic treasure. A gold mine of authentic humanity and emotion, capable of playing a vast range of personalities, and more astonishingly -- yet accessibly -- beautiful at 42 than ever before, she is arguably the best film actress in France today.
So when she plays an adulteress in 1962 Normandy who has an affair with her husband's boss in "The Bridge," there is so very much more to the character than just her cheating heart.
Mina is a woman who is frustrated by the slow evaporation of magic in her marriage. She still loves George, her blue-collar lug of a husband (played by Bouquet's real-life mate Gerard Depardieu). But their relationship has gone from dizzy and passionate to comfortable and polite. In fact, she'd much prefer to lose herself in a record or a good book, or go to the movies -- where emotions are powerful and love is always ardent -- than spend a night with George.
Continue reading: The Bridge Review
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Carole Bouquet is a cinematic treasure. A gold mine of authentic humanity and emotion, capable...