Ludivine Sagnier and Kristin Scott Thomas, fine actresses and beautiful women, go head to head in "Love Crime," a first-rate murder mystery with lots of jealousy, sex and ambition to spice up a good story. It opens today, and has enough old-fashioned detectives and new-fashioned ad-p.r. executives to keep everything spiced up.
It's the last film from director Alain Corneau, who died a year ago, and it bears some resemblance to the classic film noir plot lines used in the stories of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and James M. Cain.
Thomas is Christine, high in the ranks at the Paris office of an American-owned company. She brooks no nonsense, runs a tight ship, has excellent ideas and a good lover in Philippe (Patrick Mille), who does financial business for the company and funny business with her. Sagnier, whose look changes from scene to scene, from mood to mood, is Isabelle, bright and young. She never forgets a slight and is constantly plotting her next step up the corporate ladder.
Christine lavishes compliments and gifts on Isabelle, makes what might be a prologue to a sexual relationship, suddenly backs off. Christine then sends Isabelle to Cairo to make a presentation to a potential client. She also sends Philippe, knowing full well they'll find time for other activities besides a visit to the Pyramids. Isabelle leaps at the chance and at Philippe; when they return to Paris, Isabelle notes that Christine has taken credit for the idea that sealed the deal, an idea proposed by Isabelle.
The plot continues to thicken, battle lines are drawn, insults and humiliation are traded like comments about the weather. And then, murder most foul, followed by a detailed investigation, followed by an equally detailed investigation aimed at undoing the first one. Deceit is everywhere, down to a finale with more twists than Chubby Checker.
A taut, well-written story fleshed out by handsome men and beautiful women in modern offices. Fine film.
Love Crime opens today at Plaza Frontenac