is close to 80 years old. I was unaware about this biographical detail until reading his bio on IMDB. I thought about him as being much younger, and the reasons are to be found in his films. Verhoeven is a director who does not avoid controversy, from picking his themes and sources of inspiration to bringing to screen strong and special characters (especially feminine ones) who deal with their fate and their sexuality in a very unconventional manner. The director of RoboCop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Showgirls, Starship Troopers, Black Book may be drawing to the end of the 8th decade of his life, but Elle continues to position him as a strong and different kind of director, and does not look at all as a slowing down or concluding film of any kind.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3716530

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3716530

 

The film starts with an ugly and violent rape scene, which sets the main theme the movie deals with, but the way the subject is approached by the main heroine and the director is quite different than expected. The victim is a business woman leading a video games company which produces violent games and has a troubled history of herself. Her father was a serial killer imprisoned for perpetuity (there is no death penalty in France) and his name and dark fame was not forgotten by the public, the blame being reflected on his family as well. The whole family is troubled, relationships are broken or hard to keep, side affairs are managed more or less in the open. No-one seems capable to tell the truth or face truth. Police cannot be involved and the threat of the return of the rapist seems to put pressure on the lead character.

 

(video source FilmIsNow Movie Trailers International)

 

The combination of psychological thriller with dark erotics works well because the story is well written, twists and changes surprise the viewers at many moments, and each of the characters (lead and supporting) has a distinct identity and good reasons to act as they do, although their motives may become clear only late in the story. is the perfect casting for the role of Michele Leblanc, a woman who has seen so many and suffered so much in her life, who tries to find appeasement in sex, but do not expect Verhoeven to present some conventional type of relationship. Michele’s connections with men are all episodes of power fights between sexes, where the apparently stronger side does not always win. At the end, there is no moral in the story, maybe just an anti-moral conclusion. Trying to tell the truth does not pay up for the the hero of this story. Her short tentative to stop lying and fooling around (with herself first of all) fails and resorting back to the smaller or bigger lies is the only way to re-establish the balance for the heroes of the story. Or at least for those heroes who survive by the end of the story.