Mark of an Angel

Film, Thrillers
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars
One vital plot point of Safy Nebbou’s otherwise slick and thoughtful thriller is hard to believe – but then, in the midst of doubt, one remembers that a true story inspired the film. So where does that leave those worries about the overall credibility? Rather than undermining it, such niggles add an additional layer of intrigue to a film that trades in almost supernatural ideas of motherhood. Elsa (Catherine Frot) is troubled: the mother of a small boy, she’s going through a divorce and the concerns of her parents suggest she has a history of depression and breakdowns.

When she spots a familiar young girl at the party of one her son’s friends, she is adamant the child is the baby thought to have died in a hospital fire days after Elsa gave birth. Elsa keeps her feelings to herself but makes friends with the girl’s wealthy mother, Claire (Sandrine Bonnaire), a pretty young woman whose light presence is in strict contrast to Elsa’s increasing mania as she turns from Claire’s new pal to her omnipresent stalker.

Nebbou quietly marshals claustrophobia and tension without encroaching on more bombastic thriller territory. He’s well-served by two actresses who play up to the subtlety of their roles as written: Frot is pleasingly hard to read, so we’re never sure on which side of reason her behaviour falls, while Bonnaire gradually allows a growing sense of unease into her portrait of a woman who superficially has it all. To discuss the film any more could ruin it, but needless to say it should inspire heated conversation among any who see it.

By: Dave Calhoun



Release details

Release date:
Friday May 22 2009
95 mins

Cast and crew

Safy Nebbou
Safy Nebbou
Catherine Frot
Sandrine Bonnaire
Wladimir Yordanoff
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