Love Crime (15) 106 mins **
This undistinguished French drama limps through familiar workplace-hell territory without yielding much in the way of either laughs or thrills: you could call it The Devil Wears Nada. In the Paris HQ of a global agrichemical business, tough, career-minded Christine (Kristin Scott Thomas) is very much the queen bee, stealing ideas from her underlings with an eye to securing a promotion to the company’s New York office. When put-upon assistant Isabelle (Ludivine Sagnier) hits back by sleeping with the boss’s beau and reporting Christine’s plagiarism to her superiors, there begins a game of one-upwomanship that has bloody consequences.
There’s reasonable mileage in the personality clash between the emotional Sagnier and the harder-edged Scott Thomas, who cackles while humiliating her employees with CCTV blooper reels. Yet it’s been flatly directed by the late Alain Corneau (Tous Les Matins du Monde): the first half gets repetitious as the leads march around on stiletto heels making passive-aggressive threats, while too many scenes late on depend on Sagnier’s unconvincing quivering. Brian de Palma’s upcoming remake Passion – reportedly junking any pretentions towards classiness in favour of massive catfights and (working) girl-on-girl action – sounds a good deal more fun.
Love Crime opens in selected cinemas from today.