Corps A Corps

Corps A Corps


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Tricksy thrillers are the hardest. How many times have you wondered why The Usual Suspects works at all? It's not the plotline, because that's off limits. It's not the characters, because they don't add up. In the end, it comes down to the whim of the director and the scriptwriter's secret stash. Voila!

How does that apply to Corps A Corps? Very nicely, thank you. They say that this is a team effort between director Francois Hanss and writer Arthur-Emmanuel Pierre for their debut feature. It doesn't feel like a first movie. It's too brave and sure of itself.

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Laura (Emmanuelle Seigner) is a top-of-the-range stripper who is taken away from all that by a shy devoted fan, called Marco (Phillippe Torreton), who has lifestyle choices - money, a chateau, a lucrative job as landscape architect. He professes undying love for her and she feels a need to say yes. It's a classic case of star-crossed desperation, searching for a safe place in the midst of emotional turmoil.

One night, driving home, her car swerves off the road onto a beach and explodes. She wakes up from a coma weeks later, scarred and deaf. She recovers. It takes time. She returns to the chateau outside Lyon and learns to communicate through sign language.

Later, she suspects that all is not as it seems - the oo-aah factor - and discovers through tenacious research that Marco was once a surgeon, specialising in organ transplant. She is torn between disbelief and diquiet. Is her body her own? Is Marco an enemy, or a husband, or both? What goes on in the shed at the bottom of the garden?

As a paranoid thriller, the film is mined with surprise. Even if credibility falters near the end, it matters little, because your imagination has been hijacked. Seigner's performance is as powerful as it is sympathetic.

Hanss creates the mood; Pierre sets the trap; Seigner lives the fear.

The combination can be electrifying.

Reviewed on: 26 Oct 2003
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Corps A Corps packshot
Thriller about a stripper who has an accident and comes to suspect her Prince Charming may be a toad in disguise.

Director: Francois Hanss

Writer: Arthur-Emmanuel Pierre

Starring: Emmanuelle Seigner, Phillippe Torreton, Clement Brilland, Vittorio Scognamiglio, Yolande Moreau, Marc Duret, Sandrina Rossi

Year: 2003

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: France


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