France | Germany | Belgium 2016
Opening February 16, 2017
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
Writing credits: David Birke
Principal actors: Isabel Huppert, Laurent Lafitte, Anne Consigny
Paul Verhoeven’s psychological thriller, based on the winning novel of the Prix Internallie (National Literary Award) by Philippe Djian, confronts the audience instantly with a shocking and violent rape of Michele Leblanc (Huppert) in her home. Her response to her unknown assailant is not typical of a victim. She hits back hard enough to regain control of her life for the moment and, as she soaks in the tub, contemplates her next move. She cleans up, doesn’t call the police, and goes to the doctor to confirm there was no sexually transmitted disease. There are only moments where we see that she is struggling with the aftershocks of the event. But then she slowly pulls herself together and dreams of revenge.
Since Leblanc is the owner of a video company and a shrewd business woman, who is used to confrontation among her staff, which consists predominately of young men. She decides to engage in a search to find the perpetrator which takes her deep into unknown territory which includes looking at her own personal flaws and history, as well as the relationships around her.
Huppert gives an award-winning performance of a complex woman who remains cool and calculating and never once lets us off the hook in the suspense that has been created around this character. For Dutch director Verhoeven, this film has revitalized his career which was going strong in the 1990s with science fiction films such as Robocop and Total Recall and dramas like Basic Instinct. He will be the jury president at this upcoming 2017 Berlinale. (Shelly S.)