They say a clean desk is the sign of a sick mind. If so, this French corporate thriller (2010) is criminally insane: every office or coolly fashionable home space has been swept clean of extraneous objects, and even the jail cells are freshly painted. On the one hand, you have to admire such obsessive mise en scene; on the other, there's something wrong with a suspense film when the sets are more interesting than the characters. Kristin Scott Thomas, typecast as a frosty bitch, plays a high-level executive for a huge company that does something or other, and Ludivine Sagnier is the smart, tireless assistant she patronizes and browbeats. An affair, a murder, and a crafty cover-up all figure in the plot, but disclosing any more would spoil the movie, because writer-director Alain Corneau has also swept it clean of anything but the barest plot machinations. In French with subtitles.
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