An elegant psychological thriller starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier
If Neil La Bute ever remakes Working Girl it might look a little like Love Crime. The last film from director Alain Corneau, who died in 2010, Love Crime is a typically elegant psychological thriller plunging into the murky waters of ruthless ambition, corporate ethics and merciless power games
The first half of the film is very much about work place politics as dedicated, doe-eyed assistant Isabelle (Ludivine Sagnier) learns the true measure of Christine (Kristin Scott Thomas), the ruthless boss that she idolises. Scott Thomas relishes the callous coldness of Christine turning on the charm with practised ease, flattering, seducing, exploiting the weak and clambering over the foolish in killer heels and a little black dress. Every word of encouragement is followed by a slap of humiliation as she exerts her power over the hapless Isabelle.
There are signs that Christine is not as invincible as she feels and that Isabelle is not as docile as she looks. There are echoes of All About Eve and hints of Single White Female as the relationship between the women twists and turns. A very big twist diverts the film towards more conventional territory with an intricately plotted perfect crime scenario that wouldn't seem out of place in an episode of Columbo, complete with black and white flashbacks to flesh out the details of a cunning plan.
It is less fertile territory than what has gone before but no less satisfying for mystery fans and Sagnier shines in a role that really does allow her to run the gamut from innocent victim to femme fatale. Brian De Palma has recently directed a remake Passion, co-starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace. Probably best to catch the original.
Selected release from Fri 14 Dec.