Wo­manon the edge

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film Reviews - DON­ALD CLARKE

ANNA M Di­rected by Michel Spinosa. Star­ring Is­abelle Carré, Gil­bert Melki, Anne Con­signy, Geneviève Mnich Club, IFI, Dublin, 106 min

Though Is­abelle Carré’s cor­us­cat­ing cen­tral per­for­mance has been justly praised, this in­ter­est­ing French film has also gen­er­ated some con­fused re­sponses in its jour­ney about the globe. Is it a stalker thriller in the style of Fa­tal At­trac­tion? Is it a se­ri­ous at­tempt to de­tail the typ­i­cal progress of an ob­ses­sive psy­chosis?

It is to di­rec­tor Michel Spinosa’s credit that he en­twines both strains with such deft­ness. The film is of­ten ex­cit­ing and oc­ca­sion­ally hor­ri­fy­ing, but, if the in­ter­ti­tles’ al­lu­sions to the var­i­ous stages of psy­chosis are to be cred­ited, it re­tains an ad­mirable se­ri­ous­ness of pur­pose through­out.

Carré plays a som­bre young wo­man who is em­ployed in the restora­tion of an­cient doc­u­ments at the French na­tional li­brary. One day, clearly de­pressed, she steps in front of a car and suf­fers se­ri­ous in­juries to her legs.

Dur­ing her spell in hospi­tal, she be­comes at­tached to her doc­tor and, upon re­lease, ini­ti­ates a cam­paign of ha­rass­ment against the poor fel­low and his blame­less wife. In her most de­mented mo­ment, she se­cures a job as a nanny with the folks up­stairs and en­cour­ages the kids to rip up the wooden floor above the doc­tor’s head.

Anna M does have more than its share of un­likely mo­ments (that nanny job is se­cured with pre­pos­ter­ous ease), and the du­bi­ous end­ing fails in at least three dif­fer­ent ways. But Carré at­tacks the role with such un­set­tling con­vic­tion that the pic­ture proves never less than grip­ping. Even Glo­ria Swan­son would have had dif­fi­culty repli­cat­ing the ad­dled ma­lig­nity the young ac­tress brings to her glow­ers at the cam­era. We hope to see more of her in years to come.

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