Keen to write something other than her best-selling series of detective novels, English author Sarah Morton (Rampling) takes a long working break at her publisher's French villa. However, her peace is abruptly shattered by the arrival of said publisher's promiscuous teen
Averaging a film a year since his 1998 debut, François Ozon has been on particularly strong form recently with Under The Sand and 8 Women. He wobbles a little here, however, with this character-driven thriller whose tricks aren't quite as sure-footed as those of the masters (Hitchcock, Chabrol) from whom they're drawn.
Proving that broad stereotypes are just as prevalent on the other side of the Channel, English writer Sarah (Rampling) is as cold and unfriendly as French teenager Julie (Sagnier) is naked and uninhibited. Of course, the film has a hidden reason for these depictions, but that doesn't compensate for the fact that, for the majority of the running time, the drama we're watching is based on an obvious clash of personalities. That said, both actresses are excellent: Rampling aloof but excited about the real-life plot she's caught up in, Sagnier confident and incredibly sexy.
Better as a character study than a slice of intrigue.