- James Mottram
- 15 April 2019
Fun but narratively shaky thriller which sees the great Isabelle Huppert terrorise Chloë Grace Moretz
Marking his first feature since 2012 vampire fantasy Byzantium, Irish director Neil Jordan returns with Greta. A New York-set potboiler, it's a B-movie with an A-list cast, in the shape of French star Isabelle Huppert (in a rare English-speaking role) and Chloë Grace Moretz. Co-written with Ray Wright, this stalker thriller sees the writer-director stray into The Hand That Rocks the Cradle terrain.
Perhaps in a nod to her recent, much-celebrated role in Paul Verhoeven's Elle, here Huppert switches things up to assume the part of aggressor, while Moretz is our main focus. The younger actress plays Frances, a waitress trying to make her way in the Big Apple. Fortunately, she's fallen on her feet, living with her spoilt friend Erica (It Follows star Maika Monroe) in her salubrious apartment (Erica seems to spend most of her time bar-hopping or practising yoga). But when Frances decides to return a handbag she finds on the subway to its owner, her charmed life changes in a flash.
The bag in question belongs to Huppert's Greta, a sweet-seeming middle-aged French woman. Greta is dearly in need of companionship and the kind-hearted Frances helps her buy a dog to keep her company on those lonely nights. Then one evening, Frances makes a creepy discovery in Greta's apartment and, with that, Jordan lets the handbrake off and Huppert slides into unhinged mode.
It's easy to get caught up in Greta's pleasures: Jordan is a skilled filmmaker and he knows how to wring tension out of a scene (as when Greta is texting Frances too-close-for-comfort pictures of an unwitting Erica). Both leads also commit fully. But the film's internal logic is way off and plot-holes litter the script. Treat it as a nightmarish fairytale and you'll have fun. Think about it for too long and it falls apart.
General release from Fri 19 Apr.