Thursday, 14 March 2013

Working Girl from Hell - Love Crime

Love Crime

Working Girl from Hell

All About Eve.  Damages.  The Devil Wears Prada.  Fatal Attraction.  Disclosure.  Showgirls.  How many times must Hollywood warn us?  You just can’t trust women in the work place!  Ambitious, bossy, tightly wound, scheming, conniving bitches who’ll smile sweetly as they stab you in the back and steal your ideas/man/burlesque role, climbing over broken relationships (and often broken bodies!) as they slide up that greasy corporate pole.  When will we learn?  All women are EVIL!

In Love Crime, powerful, ambitious executive Christine (Kristin Scott Thomas) both nurtures and preys upon her naïve, innocent assistant Isabelle (Ludivine Sagnier), cruelly manipulating her in the kind of borderline sadistic working relationship verging on the Sapphic we’re used to seeing in films where women insist on having careers.  But, when Christine passes one of Isabelle’s ideas off as her own and destroys the younger woman’s reputation, just maybe her protégé has learned a few dirty tricks from her mentor and their corporate cold war soon heats up, events quickly escalating from dirty looks and forged documents to murder…

Slick, cool and tense, the latest installment in “Don’t trust your lady boss…she’s a WOMAN!” Alain Corneau’s final film, Love Crime, is essentially a Gallic retread of Mike Nichols’ mid-eighties, capitalist wish fulfillment fairy tale Working Girl in which lovable, put-upon secretary Melanie Griffith turned the tables on her unscrupulous uber-bitch boss Sigourney Weaver, stealing her job and her man (Harrison Ford) in the process.  Except that in the French version, one woman bayonets the other as the cutthroat world of office politics turns a bit Ides of March.  And there’s thankfully a lot less Carly Simon.

Already in the process of being remade by Brian De Palma (gulp!), Love Crime offers few surprises and is at its best in the first half as it explores the queasy, quasi-erotic vampiric bond between Scott Thomas and Sagnier’s characters; as soon as one kills the other (this is not giving anything away) the film becomes much less interesting and much more convoluted, descending into an almost hysterical third act.  Both actresses are terrific however, Scott Thomas bringing just a glimpse of vulnerability to her impeccable ice queen while the coltish Sagnier is a study in insecure naivete. 

There’s precious little love on display in Love Crime (something De Palma will no doubt rectify with some hot girl-on-girl action) but if you’ve ever had a bad appraisal at work or a colleague has passed off your proposals as theirs, this film may give you ideas.

David Watson

Directed by:
Written by:
Produced by:
Crime, Mystery, Thriller
1 hour 46 minutes
UK Release Date:
Friday 14th December

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