Wednesday, 18 July 2012

In Your Hands - Review

This French-produced feature looks as though it’s going to be just another generic thriller when middle-aged surgeon Anna Cooper (Kristin Scott Thomas) is seen leaving a house looking disorientated and very frightened.
Once home, she heads back out to the police station where we discover that she’s spent the past week imprisoned by Yann (Pio Marmaï), a man who’s out for revenge for something Anna has done. Cue a 40-minute flashback as In Your Hands eschews its thriller premise and, surprisingly, turns into a study of Stockholm syndrome.
Some of the early abduction scenes prove a delight, especially when it becomes clear who’s really in control. But oddly enough, it’s this middle section, when Anna and Yann start to form a close emotional bond, that’s the most rushed. Surely an extra 10-15 minutes running time could have been used here to ensure that this sensitive section of the film was dealt with properly (it runs for a brief 85 minutes). As it is, the dialogue seems clunky, rendering Anna’s middle act transformation a little too unbelievable to have any serious emotional impact. This is a shame, as Kristin Scott Thomas does well with very little, her sense of despair and desperation coming across perfectly and the chemistry between the two leads help to gloss over the lack of sparkle at the close.
One or two scenes aside, director-writer Lola Doillon (daughter of Jacques) also deserves credit for her direction because she makes a couple of very astute choices. She constantly fills the screen with both of her character’s faces and bodies, always emphasising the claustrophobia they both feel. Doillon also explores loneliness to an unsettling effect, showing the hold it can have over people’s actions. Unfortunately, although the film is striving to be about more than just loneliness, the other themes of loss and victimhood get a less than thorough exploration.
In the end, you come away with the feeling that, given a quick rewrite of certain scenes and an extra fifteen minutes, this could have been a taut, emotional thriller. As it is, In Your Hands is a disappointing waste of considerable acting and directorial talent.
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