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Cracks


Go Green with this strong psychological thriller.

Rod Lott July 18th, 2011

Eva Green hit moviegoers’ collective radar as eye candy in “The Dreamers” and “Casino Royale,” which makes her stellar performance in “Cracks” that much more remarkable.

cracks

While she’s attracting attention on Starz’s hit series “Camelot,” the public should also follow her to this low-key thriller.

She plays Miss G, a teacher at an out-of-the-way British boarding school for girls in the 1930s. Amid an otherwise old-maid faculty, her youth and beauty make her popular among the students. On the surface, she’s an exuberant woman who lives for the moment and exudes a positive attitude that’s infectious; that’s a cover, however, for a tortured soul that’s as enigmatic as her name.

I don’t want to give away the twists and turns of this indie thriller, because it will hook you from the start with splendid photography and keep you entranced with a compelling story comprised of strong characters. I can say that Miss G’s pet student, Di (Juno Temple, “Greenberg”), isn’t at all happy with her teacher’s sudden interest in the new arrival, Fiamma (Spanish actress María Valverde), reportedly a princess. That aristocratic nature puts Fiamma in the sights of Di and her “Mean Girls”-esque minions (among them, the unfortunately named Imogen Poots of “28 Weeks Later,” here radiating like a young Kate Winslet), making her a target of their cruel behavior, and setting up one twisted variation on the love triangle.

Green is a knockout, both in the physical sense and in her performance, and the unknown-to-these-shores Valverde is near her equal. In everything I’ve seen her in, Temple has always bothered me, but at least here, she’s supposed to. (That said, I hope her casting in the next Batman movie doesn’t ruin “The Dark Knight Rises” for me.)

If there’s a star to single out, it’s the one behind the camera: Jordan Scott. The daughter of A-list director Ridley Scott (“Gladiator”), she proves that great filmmaking is in the genres. With a quiet score and precise angles that suggest careful planning in service of the story, she has crafted a feature — her first, believe it or not — full of indelible images, but also pulse-quickening tension. —Rod Lott

 
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