Isabelle Huppert meets Paul Verhoeven, and it’s like being put through a meat grinder. A middle-aged Parisian businesswoman named Michèle (Huppert) gets raped repeatedly by a masked intruder, disrespected by her family and employees, and assaulted by people upset that her father is a convicted mass murderer. Michèle’s response is to briskly move on to the next subject with no display of emotion. She glides through the hyper-melodramatic screenplay – adapted by David Birke and Harold Manning from a novel by Philippe Djian — as if nothing is wrong, refusing to fold by sheer force of will. Is it the idiosyncratic Verhoeven’s (Basic Instinct, Showgirls) tribute to the combativeness of Huppert’s best roles (Coup de Torchon, The Piano Teacher), or just one more chance to shock the audience? For Huppert, it’s yet another portrait of a fierce female. For Verhoeven, it looks more like a last gasp (130 min.).
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Producer: Saïd Ben Saïd and Michel Merkt
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Laurent Lafitte, Anne Consigny, Charles Berling, Virginie Efira, Christian Berkel, Judith Magre, Jonas Bloquet, Alice Isaaz, Vimala Pons, Raphaël Lenglet, Arthur Mazet, Lucas Prisor, Hugo Conzelmann and Stéphane Bak