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 made the movie with an all-French crew which included none of his former Dutch crew members, except for his personal assistant Mita de Groot and editor Job ter Burg. He claimed that the prospect of working with an unknown crew in a new language gave him so much stress that it caused him severe headaches in the months prior to filming. However, these were gone on the first day of shooting, and due to the professionalism of the crew and their love of film, the production went very smoothly. See more »
Repeatedly, Patrick bangs Michèle's head against a concrete wall and hits her in the face with powerful punches. Yet Michèle never loses consciousness, doesn't sustain any bone fractures and even gets away without a swollen eyelid. See more »
After seeing this film at Cannes, it left me with rather mixed emotions, and I continued thinking about it for quite some time after; so after much thought, I decided it was time to write a review of this new French new flick. 'Elle' is a thought-provoking thriller from the hands of Dutch auteur Paul Verhoeven that is definitely not suitable for the younger audiences. Verhoeven has a tendency to venture down more explicit routes (think of 'Showgirls'), but this time took a psychological approach creating a film that will definitely leave you thinking.
Now, the plot can be rather convoluted. The film runs several plot lines alongside each other and at times, you can lose track of certain characters, but if you pay close enough attention, you'll fully appreciate the complex, yet original structure Verhoeven has created. The performances in the film are all fantastic, and the direction is magnificent (Verhoeven actually took to learning French as a new language so he could utilise an entire French crew), the cinematography and soundtrack both make great accompaniments, but I personally think the film's structure was the only downside to the film.
The subject matter is rather grim, revolving around sexual assault and the estranged relationship between the main character and her parents, but there are instances of humour that just give that little hint of lightheartedness to a relatively dark premise. All-in- all I would definitely recommend this film if you're a fan of dark thrillers along the lines of 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' etc, but be prepared for a no-holds brazen thriller. Nonetheless, Verhoeven has made a sincere thriller that kept me thinking well after the credits had finished, so congratulations to him for that, and for undertaking the somewhat "risky" subject matter.
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