Love Crime (M)

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Review byMatthew Turner18/12/2012

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 107 mins

Enjoyably trashy, subtly subversive Euro thriller with a strong script and a pair of terrific performances from Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier.

What's it all about?
Directed by Alain Corneau (who sadly died shortly after filming), Love Crime (Crime d'amour, original title fans) stars Ludivine Sagnier as talented junior business executive Isabelle, who's been taken under the wing of her powerful, high-flying boss Christine (Kristin Scott Thomas). However, when Christine starts stealing Isabelle's ideas and passing them off as her own, she ignites a vicious rivalry between the two, which is further complicated when Isabelle starts sleeping with Christine's boyfriend, Philippe (Patrick Mille). But when Christine pushes Isabelle too far, she concocts an elaborate plan and exacts a deadly revenge.

The Good
With the likes of I've Loved You So Long, Leaving and The Woman In The Fifth, Kristin Scott Thomas has quietly carved out an entire sub-genre of what might be termed ‘Kristin Scott Thomas Euro thrillers’ and Love Crime, while at the trashier end of the scale, is nonetheless a worthy addition to that list, even if the film is technically more of a vehicle for Sagnier. Either way, both Scott Thomas and Sagnier deliver terrific performances, with Scott Thomas on deliciously evil form as Christine and Sagnier presenting Isabelle as a seemingly innocent victim with disturbingly dark depths.

What's interesting about Love Crime is the subtly subversive touch of having the audience fully (or at least mostly) behind Isabelle's actions; we root for her to get away with her plan and marvel at the way she has apparently thought of everything. Corneau's direction is key to the success of this, coupled with some skilful editing, most notably in the depiction of the crime itself.

The Bad
The main problem is that Corneau rather diminishes the latter half of the film by including a series of badly shot, poorly conceived black and white flashback sequences that feel increasingly clumsy. Similarly, while the dialogue between Christine and Isabelle is excellent, there are a number of embarrassingly clunky lines during the film's business-oriented scenes, such as ‘Well, Isabelle, we are all agreed that you are the perfect woman’ or ‘Well done, Isabelle! Your proposal should see us rise to the top five per cent of our industry within the next six months!’

On top of that, it's also fair to say that the script squanders a potentially interesting set-up, tossing aside an early suggestion of an attraction between the two women and largely relegating Mille's character to the background.

Worth seeing?
Love Crime is an entertainingly trashy Euro thriller that's worth seeing for its subtly subversive script and a pair of superb performances from Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier. Great ending, too.

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Content updated: 24/02/2020 15:32

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