Friday, June 05, 2009

French Thriller

I'm glad I didn't read anything Anything for Her before I saw it, because even the one-sentence summary in Time Out gives part of the plot away. The film wrong-foots you from a cracking start - and then draws you into into empathising with French teacher Julien, his wife Lisa and son Oscar separated when one of the parents is sentenced to 20 years in prison. Oscar is traumatised by the brutal arrest and alienated by grim prison visits. After three years and a suicde attempt , a prison break looks like the only option for the family to survice.

This the kind of intelligent thriller the the French do best : ordinary people in desperate situations. The first part is harrowing, heaping on the despair, and the rest keeps you on the edge of your seat as you follow complex events which contrast the protagonists desperation, grandparents' anguish, ruthless underworld thugs and cool police evidence-gathering.

The acting can't be faulted - the kid never plays 'cute', although one of his scenes really ratchets up the tension. Diane Kruger as Lisa resembles a young, low-key Catherine Deneuve , and Vincent Lindon has the kind of baggy-eyed, lived-in look that Frenchmen have perfected. There's strong support, too, from the minor actors, Lucien's father in particular bringing great emotional depth to a role requiring him to pretend he doesn't know what's going on. The prison rescue and subsequent police chase leads up to a nail-biting finish.

I wouldn't read any reviews before seeing it, though.

Anything for Her:

No comments: