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Elle

  • Drama
  • 2016
  • Paul Verhoeven
  • 125 mins
  • 18

Summary

After being raped in her home by a masked assailant, Michèle Leblanc does not go to the police as she has far too many other things to concern herself with to put her life on hold. But when Michèle starts getting text messages from the rapist describing her clothing and whereabouts, she arms herself with pepper spray and a small axe, considering all the men in her life a possible suspect. Paul Verhoeven's thriller, starring Isabelle Huppert. In French.

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Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dutch provocateur Paul Verhoeven learned French in order to set this bold, surprising adaptation of prize-winning novel Oh... in genteel Paris, with Isabelle Huppert in the taxing role of divorced video-game CEO Michèle Leblanc, raped at home by a masked intruder in the harrowing opening moments. To simplistically call the neo-noir that follows a revenge thriller overlooks the delectable undercurrent of Gallic social satire in David Birke's script (a scene involving a nightmare Christmas dinner rivals anything from a Mike Leigh drama). There's also the fact the sexual assault fades from the foreground while Michèle deals with the other convoluted threads of her life: her feckless son's rushed marriage; an affair with the husband of her business partner (Anne Consigny); her sexually flagrant elderly mother's gigolo toy boy; and an unimaginable childhood trauma that feeds everything (and dissuades Michèle from reporting the rape to the police). The attack, repeatedly shown, is brutal and terrifying, but Huppert is anything but a victim, surrounded on all sides by weak men, which at least suggests a feminist slant. You could say Verhoeven has translated his own Basic Instinct into French, but this film benefits from the change of setting and will spark debate about everything from violent computer games and sexual empowerment to lax suburban crime prevention for days to come.

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Credits

Cast

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Michèle LeblancIsabelle Huppert
PatrickLaurent Laffite
AnnaAnne Consigny
RichardCharles Berling
RebeccaVirginie Efira
RobertChristian Berkel
IrèneJudith Magre
VincentJonas Bloquet
JosieAlice Isaaz
HélèneVimala Pons

Crew

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DirectorPaul Verhoeven

Details

Theatrical distributor
Picturehouse
Released on
2017-03-10
Language
French
Guidance
Violence
Available on
DVD and Blu-ray
Formats
Colour
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