Sunday, February 23, 2014

"In Secret," Directed By Charlie Stratton

"In Secret," directed by Charlie Stratton, is based on "Therese Raquin," the 1867 Emile Zola novel. Therese (Elizabeth Olsen) is left by her father in the care of her aunt, Madame Raquin (Jessica Lange). In turn, she must care for her sickly cousin, Camille (Tom Felton). Madame Raquin compels Therese, virtually an orphan, to marry the unappealing Camille, and the three move from the country to Paris when the latter lands an office job. Madame Raquin opens a shop below the gloomy quarters where the three live. The frustrated Therese meets a family friend, artist and office mate of Camille's, Laurent (Oscar Issac, who recently appeared in "Inside Llewyn Davis," reviewed here), with whom she starts a passionate affair. When Camille decides to move back to the country, Therese and Laurent plot Camille's murder. While this deed is supposed to enable them to live together in bliss, it is the entry point to a cycle of remorse, recriminations and degradation. "In Secret" does full justice to Zola's grim, harrowing work, which has parallels with another great naturalistic novel of adultery and murder, Theodore Dreiser's "An American Tragedy," as well as films that include Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors" and "Matchpoint," Tay Garnett's "The Postman Always Rings Twice" and Billy Wilder's "Double Indemnity."

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