Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2016. Go to TIFF 2016 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.
ELLE (France/Germany 2016) ***1/2
Directed by Paul Verhoeven
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Laurent Lafitte, Anne Consigny
Review by Gilbert Seah
Paul Verhoeven is known for both his Dutch foreign films (SPETTERS, THE FOURTH MAN, SOLDIER OF ORANGE) and Hollywood blockbusters (TOTAL RECALL, ROBOCOP, SHOWGIRLS).
His first feature film in 10 years proves to be a critical success as already celebrated at Cannes. Based on the novel Oh… by Philippe Djian, and written by David Birke, the film trails the life of a businesswoman, Michèle (brilliantly portrayed by Isabelle Huppert), who is raped in her home by an unknown assailant and stalks him back.
Michèle rules her company like a tyrant but faces personal problems like her failed marriage to Richard (Charles Berling), her slacker son (Jonas Bloquet) and a lacklustre affair with Robert (Christian Berkel). But she has not come to terms with her father’s crime.
Her father is a serial killer who is still in prison without parole. Her mother is getting re-married to a young buck makes matters worse. Verhoeven plays his film slick and efficient, but the films slags a bit before picking up again. All of Michèle’s problems eventually come together in the solid narrative with a bang-on message. The rape scene is played several times, each time just as (but necessarily) gruesome. The film is Verhoeven at his twisted and perverted best.