Germany/France, 2012, 102 minutes, Colour.
Rachel Mc Adams, Noomi Rapace, Karoline Herfurth, Paul Anderson, Rainer Bock.
Directed by Brian De Palma.
In 2000 there was a very successful French film, Love Crime, the last film of celebrated director Alain Corneau and starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier. It was an effective crime thriller.
Veteran director Brian De Palma, who was seen in some ways as a successor to Hitchcock in his early days with such films as Sisters, Obsession, Blow out, Dressed to Kill, has adapted the French film for a German- French production.
While the film is set in Europe there are many scenes of German cities, especially Berlin, with great attention to detail and atmosphere, even with a visit to London, it still nevertheless seems an American film.
The setting is the world of big business, advertising companies and competitiveness and rivalries. Rachel Mc Adams is glamorous as Christine, in charge of the German office, demanding on everyone, a sexual predator, and not above taking credit for herself for other people’s work. By contrast, Noomi Rapace is Isabelle, more inventive than Christine, and shocked when Christine takes credit for her work. The other members of the drama are the young assistant, Dani, Karoline Herfurth, sexually active with an infatuation for Isabelle. The man in the drama is Dirk, Paul Anderson, who has undergone financial risks, dependent on Christine, while having an affair with Isabelle.
When Christine is murdered, Isabelle is held under suspicion, but has a sufficiently strong alibi not to be charged. The difficulty for Isabelle comes with Dani, upset by her rejection, following Isabelle and watching the whole murder drama unfold.
The title is rather generic, a more focused title might have given the film more success.
1. The title, the emphasis? For Christine and Isabelle? The passion of power, of sexuality, of control?
2. The film as a remake of a French film? The transition to Germany? The work and career of Brian De Palma? Similarities in themes to some of his earlier films? Interactions between women?
3. Germany, the business world, the offices and buildings? Scenes in London? The exteriors of the German city, offices, apartments, restaurants, the opera, the police precinct? The musical score?
4. Christine and Isabelle, in themselves, their positions in the office, the work on the campaign, the meetings, sharing, Isabelle and her waking in the night, phoning Dani, the photographs of the campaign? The meeting, the show, the good response, Christine claiming responsibility? Sending Isabelle to London, Isabelle and her relationship with Dirk? Her shock at Christine’s behaviour, Christine and her rational explanation, that each would do the same thing to the other? Christine and her New York ambitions?
5. Christine, demanding the office, the issue of the accounts, her hold over Dirk, using it? Using Isabelle? Her schemes, her carry on, Dani and the sexual implications? Christine and her malice?
6. Isabelle, in herself, her work, her ideas, her ambitions, her being hurt, the relationship with Dirk, Dani and her advances, her reaction against her?
7. Christine and the murder? Isabelle under suspicion, her arrest, in jail, her lawyer, the witnesses?
8. Dani, the infatuation, the rejection, following Isabelle, seeing her in action, understanding the plan, confronting Isabelle, revealing what Isabelle had done?
9. Isabelle covering her tracks, playing with the times, the information, the visit to the opera, her being seen because she had taken the wrong seat, witnesses? And the viciousness of her committing the crime?
10. Dirk, the money, his deals, wanting Christine to cover him, her denouncing him, exposed?
11. The police, the types, the details of their investigation and interrogations?
12. The solution, Isabelle’s behaviour, Christine telling the story of her twin sister, there being no evidence, yet her appearing, revenge?