It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Alain Corneau's "Love Crime" is a diabolical mystery movie with one of those plots where we suppose we understand everything that's happening, and then get the rug pulled out from under us. It's a contest of will between two women executives in the French headquarters of an American multinational, and involves bloodthirsty office skullduggery and intrigue. The two lead performances make it work, even if the plot eventually seems devious for its own sake.
Kristin Scott Thomas, once again fluently bilingual, plays Christine, the boss, who is one step away from being promoted to the American office. When we first see her with Isabelle (Ludivine Sagnier), they're in Christine's home working on business while Christine's affection for her protege shows hints of being more personal. Is she really attracted to the younger woman, or just trying to seduce her loyalty? She speaks tenderly, touches her gently, gives her a scarf.
When Isabelle discovers she also has taken credit for her work, she's stunned. Christine smoothly explains that it's the way corporations work; it's known as teamwork. Isabelle seems to be a naive and vulnerable underling, compared to Christine's cold-eyed calculation. Intrigue deepens as Christine sends her lover, Philippe (Patrick Mille), with Isabelle on a business trip to Cairo, they sleep together and that triggers Christine's fury against them both.
The screws tighten. Philippe is trapped. Now Isabelle feels betrayed by both. A friendly colleague opens her eyes to office secrets, setting in motion a labyrinthine plot in which the seemingly naive young woman turns out to be more than the equal of her boss.