Crime d'amour (Love crime) is finally out in UK cinemas this week, more than two years after its French release. Depicting the psychological battle between two powerful women at a multinational company, Christine (Kristin Scott Thomas) and her protegé Isabelle (Ludivine Sagnier), it begins strongly. Christine is utterly ruthless in using Isa (as she is known) to further her own ambitions, and toys with the younger woman's emotions in expert fashion, simply for her own amusement. But when Isa begins to take the lessons of her mentor on board, not least her single-minded ambition and lack of empathy, the stage is set for a far bigger showdown than either anticipated.
For me the film began to lose its way about half-way through, when a dramatic plot twist was a bit too much for me to accept - it didn't quite ring true, and that affected my enjoyment of the rest of the film. It was still engaging though, and I didn't see the final twist coming.
Scott Thomas is excellent as always (I was, as ever, overwhelmed with admiration for her flawless French), and while Sagnier is a very talented actress, she can't quite match the Englishwoman for sheer screen presence – she is some two decades younger after all. I think Crime d'amour would have been more successful if both protagonists were around the same age – although the protegé aspect wouldn't fit in that case. It is never explained why Sagnier, a woman in her early 30s at most, is the second most senior executive in the company.
Ultimately, the character of Isa just isn't strong enough to counterbalance Christine – and, given the plot, she needs to be. That's all I say for fear of ruining Crime d'amour for you – it's still an interesting psychological thriller, even if it doesn't quite live up to the potential of its first 45 minutes.
Fashion PS: I loved Isa's buttoned-up yet ultra-feminine workwear – although perhaps you need her looks and figure to pull it off. It would be interesting to know which designers were used – the clothes looked like Carven to me.