Since playing pixie-ish Ludivine Sagnier against a domineering Charlotte Rampling worked well for François Ozon in Swimming Pool, veteran director Alain Corneau conjures up some of the same frissons by casting Gallic glamour girl Sagnier opposite Anglo ice-queen Kristin Scott Thomas in this piercing boardroom thriller.
Scott Thomas has had her best recent roles in French cinema, and this stylish offering continues her strong run, proving utterly ruthless in her role as the executive über-bitch who exploits workaholic underling Sagnier’s hard graft and takes the credit for herself. Surely the worm will turn eventually?
Well, there are surprises ahead as the pacy, gripping direction manoeuvres events into the ‘crime’ territory the title suggests, shifting focus so Sagnier reveals the hidden anger she’s been bottling up for too long. There’s some fiendishly intricate plotting ahead too, as Corneau (in his last film before his death in 2010) balances febrile female psychology with a cavalcade of entertaining twists and turns. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)