Linda was a one hit wonder as a pop singer. She never managed to follow up her early success and now her producer and boyfriend Friedrich has taken on a new and younger starlet while Linda ... See full summary »
Tim and his friend Can go to bars and lie to girls about one of them being terminally ill so they can gain sympathy and be guaranteed a "hook up" for the night. Tim meets Marie hooks up ... See full summary »
Sequel to Lammbock. Stefan and Kai meet again after years. Stefan became a successful lawyer in Dubai while Kai is stuck in their home town. Kai has relationship issues and is trying hard ... See full summary »
A veteran high school teacher befriends a younger art teacher, who is having an affair with one of her 15-year-old students. However, her intentions with this new "friend" also go well beyond platonic friendship.
Michèle seems indestructible. Head of a successful video game company, she brings the same ruthless attitude to her love life as to business. Being attacked in her home by an unknown assailant changes Michèle's life forever. When she resolutely tracks the man down, they are both drawn into a curious and thrilling game-a game that may, at any moment, spiral out of control.Written by
Paul Verhoeven said he had a great time working in France. Due to the French love for culture, he had much fewer issues with budgets and the movie's subject matter compared to the Netherlands and Hollywood. Moreover, he was pleasantly surprised by how courteously and respectfully he was received as a filmmaker, and recognized by several French festivals (including Cannes) for his "author qualities". This was in sharp contrast with how many of his Dutch films were initially received by the Dutch press, which was often lukewarm to bad. His biggest Dutch commercial success,Turkish Delight (1973), was even angrily rejected as 'pornography' by the selection committee of the Cannes Film Festival at the time, despite the festival's reputation of not eschewing controversial productions. He found working in France so satisfying that he is planning to make more movies there in the future. See more »
At the Christmas Eve house party, one of the guests asks to watch midnight mass on the TV. The TVs shoes Pope Francis celebrating mass from St Peter's in Rome. There is never such a midnight mass. The Christmas vigil mass it tends to be at 7 or 8 pm in the evening. See more »
Greetings again from the darkness. It's best not to pre-judge what to expect in a new Paul Verhoeven directed film. We haven't seen or heard much from him in the past decade (the underrated Black Book, 2006), but we know surprises and twists and entertainment will be part of his work given his track record of Robocop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, and Showgirls. Factor in that he is now working with one of the best actresses on the planet in Isabelle Huppert, and we walk into the theatre with no assumptions but a high level of anticipation.
The phrase 'tour de force' is no exaggeration for Ms. Huppert's performance here. No time is provided for settling into one's seat as the opening scene stuns us with a brutal sexual attack by a masked intruder. Afterwards, the bloodied victim calmly cleans the house, soaks in a tub and orders takeout. This is our introduction to Michele (Huppert) and begins our two hour mission of trying to figure her out.
Is she the ultimate feminist? She is the co-owner (with her best friend Anna) of a video game company that specializes in highly stylized and violent fantasy games (no subtle irony in that). Is she demented? She fools around with the husbands of her best friend and neighbor. Is she simply off-center? She scolds her mother for wanting to marry a much younger man, and her son for living with his selfish girlfriend who has a new baby via another man. She is not a good friend, business partner, mother, daughter, wife or person. This is no sympathetic character, yet thanks to Ms. Huppert, we simply can't take our eyes off of her or stop wondering how she will handle the next situation (of which there are many).
Based on the novel "Oh " by Phillipe Dijan, with a screenplay from David Birke (who has a similar theme in much of his work), the film spares us little from the daily life of Michele. We see her as a confident business person, a sexual being – whether peering through binoculars at a neighbor or trysting with a married man - and a somewhat devious and devilish person intent on revenge. It's not until later in the film that we learn the family history that has been the driving force behind her rebuilding her life while also being unable to escape the past.
Ms. Huppert is in most if not every scene. It's a powerful and rare performance that is complemented by some fine supporting actors: Anne Consigny as Anna (Michele's friend and business partner), Christian Berkel as Robert (Anna's husband and Michele's play toy), Charles Berling as Richard (Michele's ex-husband), Judith Magre as Michele's mom, Laurent Lafitte as Patrick (the neighbor), and Jonas Bloquet as Vincent (the dim bulb son). Michele has interactions with each of these characters none better than the Christmas dinner party where all are in attendance.
Verhoeven's film can be viewed as a slightly sleazy guilty pleasure, or as a profile of a strong, independent woman with a flawed moral compass. It's a reminder that we never fully escape the shadow cast by our parents, and some pay a greater price than others. It's rumored that no major American actress would take on the role, which in the end, benefits the film greatly no other actress could have provided what was needed (except perhaps Barbara Stanwyck, who died more than 25 years ago). Ms. Huppert's performance allows this to cross many genres, and it is undoubtedly the best of the year in this category: a comically mean rape-revenge psychological thriller centered on consent and desire. Should you doubt this, perhaps Michele's own words will convince: "Shame isn't a strong enough emotion to stop us from doing anything at all." It's a pleasure to meet you ma'am.
53 of 89 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this