Female Agents (15)

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The Independent Culture

Although it claims to be based on history, Salomé's wartime thriller feels fake right down to its eyelashes.

Sophie Marceau stars as Resistance fighter Louise, who joins Churchill's SOE and recruits a crack team of women for a mission in their German-occupied homeland. There's a showgirl (Marie Gillain), a jailbird prostitute (Julie Depardieu) and a Catholic (Déborah François), all supposedly possessed of skills to help spring a British agent and then kill the Nazi head of counter-intelligence (Moritz Bleibtreu). "D-Day Depends On Them", runs the tagline, to which the only reply is – who knew? One wonders all the same if duty would require them to dispense with their clothes quite so often.

An early set-piece of a hospital raid-and-rescue is competently handled, but thereafter the script slaps on the melodrama like a tart's make-up: whenever it seems to have painted itself into a corner, a crude escape-hatch is revealed. One vital strand of the plot is miraculously effected by the descent of a swirling mist – or was it merely steam from the train? Either way, it comes in very handy when you need to bump off a Nazi torturer. Marceau, into her forties, looks as lovely as ever, but neither she nor the film wins any points for authenticity.

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