Benoit Jacquot, France
After loving Paul Verhoeven’s psycho-thriller Elle, I was geared up for another fantastic film with Isabelle Huppert, who has the uncanny ability to play such psychologically complicated roles with ease. Bertrand (Gaspard Ulliel) plays a dubious gigolo who takes the opportunity of stealing a manuscript from one of his clients. As the famous play writer slips beneath the surface in the bathtub, Bertrand sees his chance to reinvent himself. Next we see him after his play has become a huge hit in Paris with his producer already pushing him to produce more. His girlfriend (Julia Roy) suggests a visit to her parent’s chalet in the mountains to help with his writer’s block. The film begins to twist and turn, taking on an Alfred Hitchcock style,where we are anticipating something dubious is about to happen to this man with a guilty conscience. Two strangers, enjoying the mountain chalet as though it were their own, were quite surprised by Bertrand’s entrance. Within minutes he himself is lying unconscious on the floor due to a blow on the head from the high-class prostitute Eva (Isabelle Huppert). He becomes increasingly obsessed with her, moving further away from writing the next great masterpiece. Like pieces on a chess board, the game builds up tension while the characters lack emotional tension. Despite a great cast, I left the film thinking how great Isabelle Huppert looked, but was disappointed with the outcome.