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Young secretary Carla is a long-time employee of a property development company. Loyal and hardworking, first to arrive and last to leave, Carla is beginning to chafe at the limitations of her career and is looking to move up. But as a 35-five-year-old woman with a hearing deficiency, she is not sure how to climb out of her humdrum life, though she is confident in her own abilities. Into her life comes Paul Angeli, a new trainee she decides to hire. Paul is 25 years old and completely unskilled, but Carla covers for him when the need arises because of his other qualities - he's a thief, fresh out of jail and very good-looking. It's a case of good meeting bad. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
If you're a fan of film noir and think they don't make 'em like they used to, here is your answer - they just don't make 'em in Hollywood anymore. We must turn to the French to remember how satisfying a well-made film from that genre can be. Read My Lips is a wonderfully nasty little gift to the faithful from director Jacques Audiard, featuring sharp storytelling and fine performances from Emmanuelle Devos and Vincent Cassel.
The basic plot could have been written in the 40's: dumb but appealing ex-con and a smart but dowdy femme fatale (who turns out to be ruthlessly ambitious) discover each other while living lives of bleak desperation and longing, manipulate each other to meet their own ends, develop complex love/hate relationship, cook up criminal scheme involving heist, double crosses, close calls and lots of money. All action takes place in depressing, seedy and/or poorly lit locations.
Audiard has fashioned some modern twists, of course. The femme fatale is an under-appreciated office worker who happens to be nearly deaf and uses her lip reading ability to take revenge on those who marginalize her. And where you might expect steamy love scenes you discover that both characters are sexually awkward and immature. Add in a bit of modern technology and music and it seems like a contemporary film, but make no mistake - this is old school film noir. It's as good as any film from the genre and easily one of the best films I've seen all year.
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