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Stars: Ludivine Sagnier, Kristin Scott Thomas, Patrick Mille, Gérald Laroche, Guillaume Marquet, Marie Guillard, Mike Powers, Matthew Gonder
Director: Alain Corneau
One of those twisty thrillers of which the French (and, lately, the Scandinavians) are so fond, many of them ripe for Hollywood remakes. In this one, Scott Thomas, whose character, Christine, comes straight from Horrible Bosses, ostensibly befriends her bright junior executive, Isabelle (Sagnier), while stealing her ideas.
The possibly bisexual Christine seems quite attached to Isabelle, in a wary kind of way, and sends her off to Cairo, happily knowing - and not caring - that 'Isa' is likely to end up in bed with Christine's current beau Philippe (Mille) who himself has been guilty of some 'financial chicanery'. But when Isabelle pulls off a new contract with a rich American company without letting Christine know, the landscape darkens. Christine humiliates her and threatens to sack her if she puts a foot out of line.
Isabelle's revenge is swift and deadly. But why is she arranging clues that can only point to herself as the perpetrator of the pivotal crime?
We can see what's going on here: the intrigue lies in seeing - shown to us later in black and white - how things have been worked out.
Performances from Scott Thomas and Sagnier are just what the late director, whose last film this was, ordered. The former, of course, speaks fluent French, and Sagnier pretty good English in the film's few English-dialogue scenes. If the end product hasn't quite the punch of the best continental thrillers, the pace is good and Yves Angelo's photography discreetly excellent.
The plot is actually pretty silly, but the veteran director just about gets away with it.
France 2010. UK Distributor: Arrow Films. Duboicolor/Black and white.
106 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.
Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.
Review date: 11 Dec 2012