Anything For Her (Pour Elle)
Populist French cinema continues its inevitable decline in the Sarkozy age of reductionism with this feeble, mildly diverting romantic thriller. Teacher Julian (Vincent Lindon) and his wife Lisa (Diane Kruger) seem to have the perfect life. Then she gets arrested for a crime she may have not committed with no hope of parole. Desperate to have the women he loves back for the sake of their young child, Julian hatches an escape plan that is as preposterous as it is daring.
The feature debut of former fashion and advertising photographer Fred Cavayé is as flashy and badly plotted as one might expect but more worryingly it begs the kind of incredulity that is rarely seen outside the US mainstream. From the heady thrillers of Henri-Georges Clouzot and Jean-Pierre Melville and beyond, the French thriller has a very venerable history, but there seems to be an epidemic of vulgarity and errant stupidity at play in the genre at the moment. Let’s look at the tally – aside from Jacques Maillot’s wretched Rivals released earlier this year (a weak, provincial Casino style gangbanger drama) there’s been Eric Barbier’s turgid and simple minded The Serpent and Guillaume Canet’s ridiculously overrated Tell No One. All these films seem lobotomised by popularism and in search of an American remake. Anything For Her has escaped from the same rotten jail. Mais oui, mais non: but yes, but no.
GFT, Glasgow and Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 5 May.