Alain Corneau made fourteen feature films in his career from 1973 to 2010 before succumbing to cancer. His final work Love Crime is a story of love, jealously and power – but cinephiles have always known that when a director’s film is released posthumously, it usually receives more attention than their other work, and is viewed in a sympathetic light.
High-flying executive Christine (Kristin Scott Thomas) notices her authority is being challenged after her feisty assistant Isabelle (Ludivine Sagnier) impresses a group of clients in America over a very lucrative contract deal. Christine then becomes involved in a battle of wills as she begins to pass off Isabelle’s ideas as her own. As the relationship between the pair becomes strained, the pressure starts to toll on Isabelle as she struggles to keep her position at the company.
The first thing noticeable about Love Crime is that there is a severe lack in creativity. Right from the start, we are thrown into Christine’s and Isabelle’s lives with a bland cinematography style, no soundtrack and a too slow pace. Scott Thomas is known for being fluent in French but still impresses as she steals every scene she’s in. She gives a believable performance as a cold-hearted executive but her co-star Sagnier fails to impress.
Sagnier (think a French Ellie Goulding) is easy on the eye, but her acting skills come into question during the last quarter of the film. As the tempo goes up a notch, Sagnier is required to become more dramatic and, without giving too much away, more unhinged. Instead we are reminded of Keira Knightley’s laughable performance in A Dangerous Method as Sagnier’s idea of madness falls short of the mark.
Unsurprisingly, Hollywood has got its hands on the story, and under the title Passion, Brain De Palma will be sitting in the director’s chair for a US remake, due to be released in February 2013. Hopefully, De Palma will make a film that’s more audience-friendly, as Love Crime manages to confuse more than entertain.
Watch the trailer for Love Crime here: