THRILLER; 1hr 46min (French with subtitles)
STARRING: Ludivine Sagnier, Kristin Scott Thomas
Business affairs: from left, Sagnier and Scott Thomas
With their shifting loyalties and games of one-upmanship, ambitious women can be as scary as hell in the workplace. Wily, chilly and chic, Christine (Scott Thomas) is the type of ladder-scrambling boss who thinks nothing of claiming the brainwaves of her demure offsider Isabelle (a wan and unreadable Sagnier) as her own, then manipulating her emotionally to get away with it. But Isabelle is no pushover and when she retaliates with a sneakily done deal, a livid Christine goes for the humiliation jugular.
Snapping out threats in flawless French, Christine is as polished as an ice pick. No wonder a blindsided Isabelle pops pills and starts to lose it: surely nothing in her pallid, sterile world has prepared her for such a corporate war? Director and co-writer Alain Corneau sets the intrigue at a slow boil that heats to a shocking and inexplicable twist, then loops onward and outward from there. Chances are you won’t outsmart the tightly packed Dutch doll of a plot. And that you’ll just about knock yourself out trying.