POSSIBLE SPOILERS, IF YOU CARE ABOUT THAT SORT OF THING
Alain Corneau's Love Crime is teasingly taut and seductively compelling in all the right places. The main tease comes in the form of a mystery wherein the viewer knows that the protagonist is up to something, and the film challenges us, dares us, to try to figure out what the details might be prior to the climactic comeuppance. While watching this film study of "the perfect crime," I wasn't reminded so much of Hitchcock's Dial M For Murder as I was of Kieślowski's Three Colors: White. In both films, the main character begins doing things that at first don't seem like much more than personal ways of coping with recent humiliation and lost love. Only as they keep going on does the viewer begin to realize that every detail of their behavior has been carefully, almost silently planned. This is perhaps a bit less so in Corneau's film, which, as I suggested above, delights in teasing the audience.
There are other teases, as well: a lesbian subtext at one point begins to bubble over before being interrupted at just the right moment, a harbinger of chaos for everybody involved, from the seducer, to the subordinate, and, finally, to the interrupter. Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier are brilliant in their roles-- so good, it's a shame they most likely will not reprise their roles in De Palma's remake. Speaking of that remake, as the film began by taking us right into a work session between the two women at the boss' home, and with the lesbian subtext teasing from the start, I couldn't help but think of how De Palma might begin his remake with the sort of subconscious message from the id he is known for.
In other areas of the film, I could definitely see where De Palma could push the envelope visually, especially with the flashbacks, which Corneau displays in perfunctory black-and-white. Corneau's film has a nice visual motif throughout of Sagnier at her desk-- every time we see her at her desk she is nothing less than compelling, whether she is busy with work, waiting for a lover that never comes, or gazing straight ahead, frozen with alternating fear/regret/vengeance. The sparse soundtrack touches the right notes of unsettled business, leaving the viewer to wonder where the story will go from where it nevertheless ends.