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Mark Simon Hewis
A stylish mix of erotic love story and political thriller. Helen McCrory stars as a brilliant aerospace engineer who is drawn into a passionate affair with a younger male student while working on a government contract for an aircraft destined for military use. As the contract deadline nears, her doubts about her new lover mount, and she comes to understand the shadowy sides of her professional career and her personal life. Written by
Suspicion: how sociopolitical oppression can influence intimacy
Though the USA format version of this British film and DVD is not yet available, the film could and should be seen on video on demand until the DVD is available for purchase. At this particular time in our history this story is a healthy look at the misunderstandings between the Muslims and non-Muslims and hopefully will hold a mirror to society to reexamine prejudice and misplaced fear and suspicion. Filmed in Bristol, England by director Katarzyna Klimkiewicz and based on a screenplay by Caroline Harrington, Bruce McLeod and Naomi Wallace, it is a rather quiet but powerful indictment against suspicion as played out in a love story.
Frankie (Helen McCrory), an attractive middle-aged woman, is a successful aerospace engineer designing drones for the British military. She also lectures at Bristol University where she meets a French-Algerian student Kahil (the immensely promising French Algerian actor Najib Oudghiri) They begin an affair and Frankie swiftly becomes obsessed with her young lover but after discovering, by accident, that he is a part-time taxi driver, she realizes that she doesn't really know Kahil, his past, or where his loyalties lie. The sweet but somewhat mysterious Kahil has friends who seem to be shady characters (except for his best friend Malik - Sheriff Eltayeb), his body carries the signs of torture, and he's lied about his student status. Frankie works in a sensitive field and becomes increasingly suspicious of Kahil's intentions towards her, and after MI5 informs her Kahil is a 'person of interest', she finds that she can't give him up so easily and starts to spy on him. She spies through his Internet history and rifles through a bag that may or may not be his. At the same time, Frankie's father Victor (Kenneth Cranham), the police and her work superiors begin to monitor her activities. Klimkiewicz ratchets up the tension and keeps us guessing as to Kahil's allegiances, while Frankie is, in turn, betrayed. Her protective father has his own doubts about Kahil and acts on them with devastating consequences. The ending is blisteringly pathetic for all concerned.
Though there are some questionable discrepancies in the script (such as how a highflying career woman is so easily derailed, emotionally and physically, by a sexual relationship with a younger man), but the acting and direction are so fine that these minor flaws become superfluous in the end. This is first and foremost a love story set in our perilous times and offers a lesson in understanding the manifestations of suspicion on interpersonal relationships.
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