Elle — a Departure for Verhoeven

Written by | Entertainment

While it’s true that this film tells the story of the life, love and inner struggles of a fabulous French woman, such appellations vastly understate the amount of sex, violence and intrigue on screen in Elle.

Image by Guy Ferrandis/ Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics

Image by Guy Ferrandis/ Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics

Of course that’s to be expected from Paul Verhoeven — the director of lowbrow treats like Basic Instinct, RoboCop and Total Recall — who here serves up a savory rue of civility and savagery. Michèle, played by the exquisite Isabelle Huppert, has a beautiful life that’s suddenly upended by an act of extreme violence. As she processes her ordeal and a wealth of other intense dramas from both her past and present (with occasionally perplexing and delightfully unflappable detachment), her simultaneously icy and hot nature becomes ever more fascinating. THE WORD: Verhoeven keeps the shocks coming throughout this intelligent, often salacious, and sometimes darkly funny character portrait. WHERE TO WATCH: In Theaters

Last modified: September 29, 2017