Review in Brief: Elle (2016)

ELLE is like the darkest soap opera you’ve ever seen. You get all the extra-marital affairs and mummy and daddy issues you might expect from nightly soft drama telly of the like of EAST ENDERS, but it also subjects us to a brutal rape scene multiple times a-la Gaspar Noé and takes us on an odyssey of moral repugnance in the style of Lars Von Trier. It’s a story all about taking ownership of a horrible event through action, of coming to terms with, and getting past being a victim. Paul Verhoeven has never being shy of presenting controversial views of the world, but thankfully he doesn’t fetishise the rape itself, but does present us with a unique (problematic?) perspective of events with perhaps a bit too much unnecessary spectacle. The group of characters we follow are all pretty awful people, but fascinating in their way, entertaining and hilarious to be around and thoroughly believable in their passive-aggressive bickering. Isabelle Huppert juggles so many contradictory and difficult elements in her performance that she is worth watching Elle for alone. SSP

About Sam Sewell-Peterson

Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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