LOVE CRIME

4 Stars
Year Released: 2011
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 104 minutes
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Corporate backstabbing gets sharp claws in this French drama/thriller.  Isabelle (Ludivine Sagnier) is a young up and coming executive whose boss Christine (Kristen Scott Thomas) gives her a break to negotiate a major deal. The deal comes together splendidly—Isabelle gets complimented for including the subcontractors. Christine gives her praise as well, but in a conference call with Americans takes credit for Isabelle’s ideas. A completely different deal quickly comes together and Isabelle doesn’t tell Christine about it. This causes Christine to lose a major promotion. Then the backstabbing really begins. Deceit in the bedroom and public humiliation are but two weapons Christine employs.

Then the movie takes a completely different turn. The plot is clever, sharp, very clearly laid out, and provides all the twists and turns one could hope for, plus an element of psychological mystery to motivations. I could grill it for plausibility reasons but once all is revealed I can’t help admire how smart it is. I’m trying not to give too much away because the plot’s twists are quite delicious. However, there are some similarities to Fritz Lang’s 1956 film noir Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, which was remade in 2009 starring Michael Douglas. I have only seen the 1956 version.

Interestingly, there is never any mention what the company makes or does. The business deals could be for anything. This places focus on human behavior. Cold sterile human interactions in a stripped clean environment are a byproduct of the modern world. Of course, greed and vengeance are as old as humanity. The film can be seen as a wry commentary on the homogenized business world. Just make the money or have your throat cut. What benefit is given to society does not matter even if the product is destructive.

The film this most resembles is Olivier Assayas’ Demonlover, but without the surreal elements. In both, power struggles between strong driven women in the business world are the central emphasis. It makes me wonder to what degree these films reflect real power struggles in the French business world and what role women play in them. But these may merely be just a couple of movies.

Love Crime is the final film of the late director Alain Corneau. It is a worthy swan song to any fine director. Hopefully, it will get more attention here in the United States.



Posted on July 3, 2011 in Reviews by
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