Set against the backdrop of a non-descript multi-national corporation, we first meet Christine (Kristin Scott Thomas) and Isabelle (Ludivine Sagnier) in Christine's home. Christine is one of the top executives in the corporation's Paris branch, Isabelle is her assistant, and they are working on a new project which will generate their company a lot of money. But during the meeting, there is a distinct sexual tension between the two women, a tension that cannot be easily placed as being caused by one or the other. Over the course of the meeting, Isabelle comes up with an idea to make the new project a sure-fire hit, but the next day when the project is being pitched, Christine claims credit for the idea herself. This is the snowball that eventually turns into the avalanche that consumes both of these women's lives, as a cat-and-mouse game of deceit and psychological warfare begins.
There's not a whole lot more to say about Love Crimes without giving the twists and turns away. Sadly, after the genuinely interesting and tense opening act, it goes pretty much downhill. Not to spoil it for any potential watchers, but the manner in which Isabelle eventually responds to Christine's attacks is a gross over-reaction, and everything that happens after this event is both painfully dull and all too obvious.
There was potential here for this movie to have a Basic Instinct-meets-Working Girl vibe, and there was room there to investigate the place where adoration and sexual attraction blur, but Love Crimes drops all pretence of being a sexy psychological thriller about thirty minutes in, and the remaining hour or so just turns into one long crime procedural where we already know the ending. Scott Thomas is always worth a watch, and it's interesting to see her switch from nurturing mother figure to potential sexual partner to fickle business dominatrix all in one scene. But Sagnier is a terrible co-leading lady, looking like a particularly dead-eyed version of Ke$ha, and flitting between under and over-acting from scene to scene. Had the movie stopped 30 minutes in, it might have made a terrific short film, but as it stands, it's simply too poor overall to deserve a recommendation.
Review by Rory Cashin | 11:58 | Friday 14th December 2012 | Movie Review