Watch The Trailer
Storyline (warning: spoilers)
The opening shot of François Ozon’s new film is a swimming pool. This could be a sort of in-joke as it immediately recalls one of his most talked about films (Swimming Pool, 2003). It is a beautifully composed shot designed to set the scene and show off the lovely French Chateau behind it, where much of the action of this historical crime caper takes pace.
As usual, Ozon brings an effortless sense of style to his films, whilst retaining a nuanced detachment from his characters and their foibles. In this one, he has added the aesthetic pleasure of recreating the 1930s with an array of stunning clothes, cars and houses. What a time, what a milieu. One gets the sense that the cast are having a jolly fine time playing it all in a knowing and exaggerated way.
We follow the fortunes of two down-on-their-luck protagonists. Madeleine (Tereszkiewicz) is a wannabe actress, and she shares an apartment with struggling young lawyer Pauline (Marder). Their sleazy landlord keeps coming round and has the temerity to ask for the back rent they owe. The two young women are running out of ways to schmooze and distract him from actually collecting.
When Madeleine is the victim of a casting couch molestation by a lecherous mogul, she sees a chance to not only dole out revenge/justice, but to solve her money problems and make a name for herself in the process. Enter various characters, all with their own peculiar and often outrageously self-serving motives. The film tiptoes elegantly between farce and an account of a crime passionnel with plenty of delicious red herrings along the way.
Ozon can do bold and brassy (8 Women) as well as dark and mean (Swimming Pool), but he is almost always fully in charge of his material. No wonder actors queue up to work with him. This is yet another departure and it is every bit as watchable as his other films