Tuesday, 6 September 2016

ELLE - Review By Greg - TIFF 2016 - Verhoeven manages unimaginable, makes boring film

Elle (2016)
Dir. Paul Verhoeven
Scr. David Birke
Nvl. Philippe Djian
Starring: Isabelle Huppert

Review By Greg Klymkiw

It seems unthinkable that Paul Verhoeven (Robocop, Showgirls, Total Recall) could actually make a boring movie. That he could make a film that's repugnant - in all the wrong ways - is equally shocking. He's done it with Elle, though.

Michèle LeBlanc (Isabelle Huppert) is raped by a ski-masked scumbag in her tony Paris digs, but she doesn't report it to the police. She has other ideas.

Michèle happens to be a dynamo in the world of gaming production. Failure eludes her because she makes her designers, colleagues and programmers suffer her sharp-tongued wrath. She knows what her gameboy customers want and, irony of ironies (ugh), the lads living in front of their gaming consoles want big boobs, blood and rape, especially rape.

Yes, she eventually tracks down her rapist, but not before Verhoeven can provide rape flashbacks and rape dreams. And isn't this all going to be oh-so Francais? She may or may not be out for revenge, but mostly, she seems fuelled by the cat and mouse aspects of the rapist stalking the rape victim and vice versa. Super Ugh!

Working with a ridiculous script, his first in the French language (from what must be a dreadful novel), Verhoeven has made a film that's vagina-stuffed with lame satirical jabs, mostly of the easy-poke variety against gaming and gamers to justify what turn out to be the rape fantasies of his leading lady.

The picture's not funny, nor suspenseful and worst of all, it's a mega-bore. I love Verhoeven, but this is a total misfire. I imagine most psueds and/or film critics will defend the picture and applaud its "bravery" and purported nods to "empowerment", but this is the domain of pinheads, not anyone with taste, compassion and humanity.


Elle is a Mongrel Media Release playing TIFF 2016