‘It was necessary’ states the rapist to his victim, a wealthy divorced Parisian businesswoman, the stunning Isabelle Huppert (The Piano Teacher, Amour). Having discovered his identity, a dangerous sexual cat-and-mouse ensues. With new sexual challenges, Huppert dumps her current lover – the husband of her best friend.
Elle is nasty, violent and vicious. Stylish it may be with its Parisian chic and director Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct, Robocop) has teased out a superb performance from his lead (tipped to be Huppert’s first Oscar nomination). The director’s intention may well have been for us to mirror Huppert’s cat, who watches her violent assault with indifference. But a ‘rape revenge black comedy’? Loathsome.