Coupled with the recent Tell No One, this film makes a strong argument for the French being the new masters of the contemporary domestic nightmare thriller. It’s a genre American cinema has always dominated but there hasn’t been a good example from the States in ages. This one is a real cracker.
After his wife Lisa (Diane Kruger) is arrested for murder, high school teacher Julien’s (Vincent Lindon) grasp on his family becomes more and more tenuous. The sense of a perfect domestic existence coming crumbling down because of unpredictable events has rarely been more palpable.
As his wife’s incarceration becomes more and more real, the film very effectively builds Julien’s sense of desperation to unbearable, though always realistic, levels. He is an average guy attempting the kind of things people in movies only do, and we never forget it. Lindon’s average, schlubby appearance and understated acting add to this greatly.
Kruger maintains a knife-edge balancing act with her character, which keeps the audience effectively guessing as to her true nature. English-speaking audiences have mainly seen the actress in outlandish settings (such as in Troy or Inglourious Basterds) and this shows she can portray a down-to-earth character just as effectively.
Get out and see this magnificent thriller before the American remake (starring Russell Crowe, planned for release later this year) steals its thunder.