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Ruthless executive Christine brings on Isabelle as her assistant, and she takes delight in toying with the young woman's innocence. But when the protégé's ideas become tempting enough for Christine to pass on as her own, she underestimates Isabelle's ambition and cunning -- and the ground is set for all out war. Written by
In Love Crime, the French have taken Mike Nichols' Working Girl and turned it into a true thriller, not just a sociological study of corporate ambition and intrigue. Isabelle (Ludivine Sagnier) is the young executive in a large global corporation; Christine (Kristin Scott Thomas) is her boss and mentor. All's well while they love each other; not so when Christine usurps Isa's ideas without attribution in the name of collaboration.
That first half, where the two execs jockey for success and independence, emphasizes shady but not lethal methods. When an unexpected plot twist changes the film into a more traditional thriller, the film is nonetheless fascinating as the protagonist makes her way through a maze created by herself and seemingly deadly for her career and her personal life.
The late director, Alain Corneau, crafts the intrigue so as to allow his actors the widest scope for their talent, especially Sagnier, who goes from introverted neophyte to deadly colleague learning from her mentor the tricks necessary to break through the glass ceiling. Not so successful is Corneau with the police, who can't seem to get it right even the second time around.
Typically French is the emphasis on Isabelle to be loved and Christine to be admired. The larceny that ensues can be traced to these driving emotions, and only the French can deconstruct them both and still produce an engrossing suspense.
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