I love a good revenge movie. From Death Wish through the Dirty Harry films to the Kill Bill movies, Death Sentence, The Brave One, I Saw the Devil (if you haven’t seen this gem check it out asap) and most recently the fantastic John Wick films, it is a subgenre I adore. A new revenge flick has just hit shelves that is directed by the always controversial Paul Verhoeven (Robocop, Basic Instinct) and features an Golden Globe winning and Oscar Nominated performance by Isabelle Huppert, Elle.
Huppert plays Michèle Leblanc, the founder of a successful video game company who is sexually assaulted during a violent home invasion. Michèle chooses not to call the police and instead continues on with her life, even telling many of her friends of the assault. But her quest to discover who the attacker was starts to consume her and once she does a bizarre game begins that soon spirals out of control.
Elle is evidence that not only is director Verhoeven brilliant but he has not lost his edge in his absence from filmmaking. He has only directed one movie in the past decade but Elle puts him back in the limelight with a searing and complicated movie that defies classification. It is part thriller, drama, black comedy, crime drama and more. It has strange scenes where you are not really sure what is happening and Huppert’s character makes decisions throughout the whole movie that leave you questioning her intentions. She never plays the victim (much like Huppert in her entire career) and never makes a predictable decision. And she is absolutely mesmerizing in the role. She is electric on the screen and despite your feelings on the plot or direction of the story; you won’t be able to take your eyes off her and will hang on her every word. Elle is a movie unlike any I have ever seen and I cannot recommend it highly enough.