Saturday, May 10, 2014

In Secret

In Secret is a 2013 film directed by Charlie Statton. It is based on the 1867 French novel by Emile Zola, Therese Raquin.

Elizabeth Olsen as Therese Raquin
Tom Felton as Camille Raquin
Jessica Lange as Madame Raquin
Oscar Isaac as Laurent

Set in 1860s, In Secret is about a sexually repressed young woman named Therese. As a child, her father took her from her native Algeria in order to live with her aunt and cousin, Camille. He promised her that he would return for her but he never does. And so, Therese grows up in the stifling environment of Madame Raquin and her sickly son. Therese and Camille are married before the little family leaves for Paris. 

Her marriage to Camille leaves her sexually frustrated. One day, Camille brings home a friend named Laurent. The family had known Laurent when he was younger but he moved to Paris to become an artist, after that endeavor failed, he came to work at the same company as Camille where the two were reunited. Camille soon requests a portrait from Laurent and the man comes to visit the Raquin family frequently. Laurent and Therese begin an affair shortly after the portrait is finished. 

Their torrid love affair continues until Camille announces that they will soon be leaving Paris due to her "health" problems. During an excursion, Laurent murders Camille. The news of her son drowning to death is devastating on Madame. Therese becomes haunted by the memory of Camille. Laurent connives to have them marry but they do not attain any peace of mind. Madame Raquin has a stroke over the pain of the loss of her only child, leaving her immobilized.

The lives of Therese and Laurent become hell together. During one of their fights, Madame Raquin discovers their murderous secret. She attempts multiple times to inform someone of the crime but fails. However, the consciences of the two murderers won't let them truly escape. They sink further and further into their gloom until they can take it no more. The two murderers take their lives while Madame Raquin watches. 

I give this movie 2.5/5. When I first saw the trailer for the movie, I absolutely couldn't wait to see it. I was so pumped that I even read the book (the English translation). Sorry to sound cliche, but the book was much better than the movie. If two years worth of English IB has taught me anything, it comes out in the viewing of this film. Sure, this is the story of Therese Raquin but it really doesn't capture the tone set by Zola. You don't get this slow psychological torture that Therese and Laurent go through. Lots of the action happens within the minds of the characters themselves - something that was definitely lacking in the film. Also, you don't get Laurent's deviousness at the beginning; he only began an affair with Therese because he couldn't afford to pay for prostitutes anymore. It is called an "erotic thriller" but the "R-rated" scenes in the movie aren't thrilling enough nor is the drama thrilling enough to capture our attention. The performances were decent although I felt like they were all modern actors pretending to star in a period piece especially in the case of Olsen (I roll my eyes, "Nevermind.") . The film would have received 1.5 however, Jessica Lange's performance in the movie was spot on. Three fifths into the movie, Madame Raquin has a stroke, making her eyes her only method of communication. She did it wonderfully! She was definitely the highlight of the film! 

No comments:

Post a Comment