Love Crime (2011)
Critic Consensus: Director Corneau's swan song, Love Crime is smart and typically well-directed, but too thin and formulaic to overcome its melodramatic trappings.
The final film from director Alain Corneau, Love Crime pits the fiery talents of Ludivine Sagnier and Oscar-nominee Kristin Scott Thomas against each other in a deliciously twisted tale of office politics that turn, literally, cut-throat. When Christine, a powerful executive (Scott Thomas), brings on a naive young ingenue, Isabelle (Sagnier), as her assistant, she delights in toying with her naivete and teaching her hard lessons in a ruthless professional philosophy. But when the protege's ideas become tempting enough for Christine to pass one as her own, she underestimates Isabelle's ambition and cunning- and the ground is set for all out war. In this devilish, propulsive thriller, Corneau sets up the scenery expertly and his actors devour it. -- (C) IFC … More
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Critic Reviews for Love Crime
It is strange how un-French the film really is: Roman Polanski would have had a field day with this material.
Despite the odd false note, Love Crime's depiction of corporate backstabbing is scarily believable, yet it's as a perversely twisted modern film noir that the film delivers its biggest pleasures.
While the second half is no stronger or weaker than the first, what it does confirm are any earlier suspicions that this is no more than a piece of competently executed French popcorn cinema along the lines of 2008's Anything For Her.
This French dramatic thriller is so gleefully trashy that it's rather entertaining, as long as you don't try to take it seriously. Sleek and seductive, it's a pungent tale that plays out like a particularly lurid corporate soap.
Implausible perhaps, but the twists on Working Girl and All About Eve are intriguing and strongly acted.
Audience Reviews for Love Crime
Interesting movie. I found Ludivine Sagniers acting to be questionable..but all in all a decent attempt at a thriller. I have read that an American version is being discussed..
Kinda strange, but a fun watch.
If you've ever been in a relationship with a working female you've probably heard something along the lines of "that bitch is out to get me" from your partner. In 'Love Crime', the "bitch" in question is Thomas, a cold-hearted executive who manipulates her latest underling, Sagnier, a young assistant who seems to hero worship her boss, at least at the outset. Sagnier throws herself into her work, only for Thomas to steal the credit and claim the ideas as her own. On the advice of a smitten male co-worker, Sagnier decides to go behind Thomas' back with her latest project, impressing the Washington office but igniting a new level of fury from Thomas whose chances of a transfer to New York have now been scuppered. Thomas' workplace intimidation now reaches new levels, culminating in her sleeping with Sagnier's lover and showing footage of Sagnier's hysterical reaction to an uncomfortable office party audience. Given this final straw, Sagnier decides it is time to break this camel's back.
'Love Crime' was originally released in it's native France back in 2010, long enough ago for an American remake to have already been completed. No doubt it's due to this remake, Brian De Palma's upcoming 'Passion', that Corneau's thriller is finally receiving a limited release in English speaking territories. It's one of those rare movies which could benefit from a remake and it will be interesting to see if De Palma can give it a more cinematic feel. Corneau's original is at it's best in it's first, more dramatic, half, essentially a two-hander between it's female leads. When the thriller element kicks in, Corneau struggles to present the plot in an engaging way.
Thomas is on fire here, playing a female twist on Kevin Spacey's Hollywood exec from 'Swimming With Sharks'. Actresses are increasingly finding themselves cast aside upon reaching middle age, struggling to find a good role. Some have chosen to enter the world of TV where roles for older women have always been far more plentiful. Thomas has taken advantage of her fluency in the French language to reinvent herself and she's reaping the rewards. Corneau has given her probably her greatest performance with a role that seems purposely written for her. We saw a glimpse of her playing this kind of bitchy character in last year's 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen' and here she essentially plays a similar role but with the comedy removed. When a male character confesses to being afraid of her, you genuinely believe him. Unfortunately she doesn't get half as much screen time as the less interesting Sagnier and the movie suffers greatly for this.
Corneau's film is half workplace drama, half 'Columbo' episode. The former is riveting, the latter not so much. For thriller aficionados only.
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