After seeing Elizabeth Olsen so miserable in Martha Marcy May Marlene—and Oscar Isaac barely surviving the winter in Inside Llewyn Davis—it’s nice to see the pair enjoy a bit of onscreen boots-knocking. Their characters are stuck in a dank version of 1860s Paris, a place of musty shops and asthmatic, annoying husbands. But whenever the two draw close, sunshine magically appears and everything heats up. Their illicit chemistry is completely believable, a hungry fire.
Unfortunately for them—and for us too, really—these lovers are trapped in the bazillionth film version of Émile Zola’s 1867 novel Thérèse Raquin, the early progenitor of many a tawdry noir. Please hold on to any hate mail you might send after I spoil the fact that Olsen’s pale, squirmy, sex-challenged spouse, Camille (Tom Felton), is not long for the world, a victim of foul play. Zola’s plot (and this so-so adaptation, better directed than paced) focuses on the guilt harbored by the criminal pair. It’s a moralistic story, one that doesn’t quite suit the modern exuberance of Charlie Stratton’s cast.
But a grace note exists: Jessica Lange, as rare as a unicorn these days, seizes on the role of a grieving mother with two taloned hands. If there are any tremors of shame to be felt here, they emanate from her.
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|Release date:||Friday February 21 2014|
Cast and crew
Unexpected gem - walked into this movie by circumstance - time to kill between Dallas and 12. Stunned at what turned out to be a tight, taught and unbroken tension gem. Struck by Jessica Lange - particularly after her character suffers a stroke. While it wasn't Blue Jasmine tour de force, it was stunning and worthy of Oscar's noticing. Also, while I found Llewyn Davis unbearably awful (and this from a Cohn Brothers fan), here, Oscar Isaacs was quite, quite good - believable and adept and adroit at changing his character completely. Was it the best film ever seen? No but it assuredly was leagues beyond most of the unthinking tripe that spews out of film companies every year - and particular in the Notorious February.