Monday, 13 February 2017

MOVIE REVIEW: ELLE



10/10

Michele has a full life. Too full in fact. She runs a successful computer games company, her son has just moved in with his pregnant girlfriend, her Botox-ed mother is about to marry a man the age of her grandson and her down on his luck, writer ex husband demands her attention like never before. Not to mention her love affair with her best friend's partner... things get even more complicated when she is attacked and sexually assaulted at her home...

To everyone's surprise Michele  does not report it. She carries on as if nothing had happened... but the accident opens some old wounds. And when the mystery stalker comes knocking again she is ready.

ELLE is a perfect example of suburban noir which is so popular these days. Michele is a curious character. She is a practical and confident woman who enjoys life immensely. The assault, however, makes her face some unfinished business. There's a perfect explanation for Michele's inner strength, that makes her strange choices into logical ones.

Isabelle Huppert in the title role is the main driving force of the film. She gives Michele the down to earth quality and charm, and you can see why she is so attractive to the men that surround her.

The mystery element is not a focus but a compliment to the storytelling, which describes the daily dramas of the middle class. But the story takes a turn when the villain reveals himself, and although his identity is not a huge surprise, what happens next is entirely unexpected. Where other thrillers end,  ELLE is just getting started and although the adrenaline filled finale is something you've seen before, the journey to it is an unusual one.

The movie is surprisingly funny with sharp dialogue and many catchy phrases that will remain with you long after the credits roll. Examining the many sides of the female psyche, the story puts sensuality,  sensibility, sexuality and intellect against each other in a battle royal spectacular. What are the moral choices of the woman in the modern world, and when things get dire, are there any choices left?

The book market is overflowing with female oriented suburban noir stories, but only a few of them have an impact and unpredictability similar to ELLE. Forget "GONE GIRL" and "THE GIRL FROM THE TRAIN". ELLE is in the league of its own.

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