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.