Review: 'Love Crime'

Kristen Scott Thomas stars as a shrewd boss in the French thriller. Submitted photo.

Not Rated

Love Crime showtimes

The genesis of Alain Corneau's

final movie (the French writer-director died last year) came when the filmmaker

wondered, "After you have committed the perfect crime, of which you will

definitely be suspected, how can you prove you are innocent by making yourself

look guilty? It's a crazy idea, which I thought about a long time before finding

a way to develop it."

Love Crime is

broken into two sections: The first deals with some particularly nasty office

politics in the corporate world. Then the crime happens and the second section

deals with the mechanics of the guilty party's plan. The office politics

section is nasty fun. The machinations of the second part certainly are

interesting, but the lack of character consistency is confusing, as are certain

elements of the plan. The line between diabolical and convoluted is thin, and I

could feel Corneau and co-writer Natalie Carter

straining to make his initial idea appear credible even in movie terms.

There are four players that matter in the high-rise Parisian

office. Christine (Kristin Scott Thomas) is the boss - cool to the point of

being crisp, she enjoys using her powerful position and supremely confident

personality to play head games with her employees and associates. Isabelle (Ludivine Sagnier, who bears a

resemblance to Anne Heche), a smart up-and-coming

executive, considers Christine to be her mentor. There may be more to the

relationship, judging from Christine's flirty behavior with her. Isabelle is

ambitious but skittish - she bruises easily, which can be very dangerous in

such a tough environment.

Philippe (Patrick Mille), a business associate and boyfriend

of both Christine and Isabelle, has done a bad thing that comes to threaten his

freedom. He's slick and self-assured until he learns that someone knows his

secret. Finally there's Daniel (Guillaume Marquet), a

close associate of Isabelle. Daniel is fiercely loyal to Isabelle and resents

the way Christine treats her. Beyond that, we know nothing about the guy.

I was thoroughly engaged with the four principal characters

during the pre-crime section of the film. The power games,

the misunderstandings, what a treat to watch the tension build. Then the

crime happens and the movie becomes almost wholly concerned with the jigsaw

pieces of Corneau's puzzle. Illogical events occur.

The perpetrator of the crime behaves like different people from scene to scene,

and not simply in service to the plan. It's still interesting, mind you, but

there's no emotional connection. And the final scene, which is intended to be

ironic, has been done in so many other flicks that it merely induces eye-rolling.

Love Crime is

beautifully acted (in French with subtitles) and worth a look. I just wish Corneau had spent as much time on character development as

he did on his perfect crime concept. Actually, I wish he'd spent more time on

that as well.