Love Crime (15)


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The Independent Culture

French director Alain Corneau, most famous for Tous les Matins du Monde, completed this psycho-thriller just before his death in August 2010

There are echoes of his countryman Chabrol in its story of a vicious boardroom-bedroom intrigue between two women. Christine (Kristin Scott Thomas), boss of an American multinational company in Paris, seems to be grooming her protégée Isabelle (Ludivine Sagnier) for promotion, praising her work and sending her off to Cairo to represent her.

But then she pulls a fast one at a power summit and steals all the credit, expressing her ruthlessness in the pithy motto, "Want it, and watch out."

A battle line appears to be drawn, with Christine's drippy boyfriend Philippe (Patrick Mille) straddling either side. Scott Thomas plays another of her steely femme d'affaires – not many do it better – and Sagnier, apart from one unconvincing freak-out in a carpark, plays to her strengths as the ingenue who has to learn quickly.

There are flaws: an elaborate murder plot that folds in on itself, and some of the most uproariously naff corporate-speak ever committed to film. But Corneau's silky segues from mildness to menace are nicely done, and the music by Pharoah Sanders ("Kazuko") is superb.