- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit)
- Subtitles: English
- Subtitles Color: White
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Certificate: 15
- Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
- Digital Copies: N/A
- Run Time: 106 Mins.
- Studio: Arrow Films
- Blu-ray Release Date: April 22, 2013
- List Price: £19.99
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If you have a low threshold for suspending your disbelief, then Love Crime (Crime d’amour), the last film from late director Alain Corneau, may not be the right work for you. Otherwise, you can settle in for a wicked romp of a revenge flick that’s three clicks away from camp, elevated only by delicately handled direction of Corneau and the interplay of the two leads who know just how to handle this material. The corporate psychological thriller stars two powerhouse actresses, Kristin Scott Thomas (Sarah’s Key; The English Patient; Four Weddings and a Funeral) and Ludivine Sagnier (A Monster in Paris; The Devil’s Double; The Girl Cut in Two) put on a rousing performance as rivals in a French agribusiness firm when an unexpected twist sends us down a rabbit hole of manipulated details.
Christine (Thomas) is an ambitious executive not above stealing ideas from her protege Isabelle (Sagnier) and claiming them as her own in order to get ahead and attain a coveted position as head of the company’s New York office. She uses whatever she can to keep Isabelle under her thumb, playing a ruthless psychological game of lesbian seduction, flattery, and intimidation. But when Isabelle begins to assert herself in the company at the behest of a co-worker, it pulls the rug out from under Christine’s corporate ladder climbing, turning her nearly unnatural fondness for Isabelle into a nasty rivalry between the two. Christine may have underestimated the quiet, timid Isabelle, however, as a particularly nasty, humiliating practical joke involving security camera footage finally prompts the true Isabelle to reveal herself. The film takes a turn into the almost absurd as Isabelle plots her revenge against Christine, and more than holds her own.
Love Crime as a film seems just as bi-polar as the characters it portrays at times. When we settle in for the first half, it seems like we’re in for some erotic version of The Devil Wears Prada. Then a wild twist in turns the second half into a supposed thriller that is less thrilling than it is an escalation of detail-oriented manipulations, taking us through past events with flashbacks to help reveal certain truths behind actions, the outcome of which we already know.
This second half of the film belongs solely to Sagnier, because by now Corneau has done away with what we expected to be an ever-escalating battle of wills and wit between the rivaling women and gone in some almost Hitchcockian direction. Sagnier is up to the task, even if the material never quite gets there. It is she who truly sells this outcome, and keeps it from turning into a Paul Verhoeven world of campy worthy of residing alongside Showgirls on certain film lists. Sagnier turns Isabelle, and the events we are witnessing, into a sympathetic and, well, pathetic, if still far from plausible, scenario.
Arrow has given Love Crime a top notch AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement to Blu-ray that has strong contrast and detail. Flesh tones are spot on and close-ups reveal a strong amount of textural information. The overall image looks very pristine with no digital anomalies and just the slightest layer of grain-like noise from the HD source. It does suffer a bit in the darker shades from crush, however, which is the biggest flaw with the transfer. It becomes difficult to make out details like stitching on clothing and buttons on blacks and dark blue hues or in shadowy scenes.
The French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1(48kHz/16-bit) soundtrack is a subtle one that is front-forward, but has a lovely amount of audible ambience and atmospherics in the surround channels.
Only the original theatrical trailer (1080p/24) is included.
The Definitive Word
Love Crime is a tasty bit of French revenge, served “froid” with two mesmerizing actresses, Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier, going toe to toe in a battle of wits. While it is hardly an A+ classic of the cinema, it can surely count as a guilty pleasure.
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