Today: April 22, 2024

In Your Hands

Though still known to many in the UK as chain-smoking Fi from Four Weddings and a Funeral, Kristin Scott Thomas has, thanks to her impressive language skills, been making a name for herself in many an artistic French film.

Though still known to many
in the UK as chain-smoking Fi from Four Weddings and a Funeral, Kristin Scott
Thomas has, thanks to her impressive language skills, been making a name for
herself in many an artistic French film.
With this tale of Stockholm-Syndrome, she can add yet
another notch to that Gaelic bed-post.

When she’s kidnapped by an angry husband who blames
her for the death of his wife on the operating table, surgeon Anna (Scott
Thomas) overcomes her initial distress as the pair begin to form a strong,
passionate bond. But can either be trusted given the nature of their captor-captive
dynamic?

At a rather brief 80 or so minutes, Lola Doillon’s film just about manages
to answer that question, throwing in a few good twists along the way. What
begins as a relatively straightforward tale of kidnap develops into an almost
hidden psychological power struggle in which motivations are never made
entirely clear, even come the satisfyingly fuzzy dénouement.

In Scott Thomas and Pio Marmaï’s vengeful captor, it helps that
Doillon has two actors at her disposal who clearly throw themselves into the
role. While the latter may be unfamiliar to both French and English viewers,
the former builds on her work in films such as Leaving and Woman in the
Fifth
; immediately conveying vulnerability and fragility with a hidden
depth of passionate manipulation.

All of which is great for what is
essentially a two-hander, and while the running time does the plot plenty of
favours, it also never feels quite as tense or claustrophobic as it should,
despite offering a level of insight many similar films (Trespass, yawn) have struggled to get close to with more time.

A solid thriller, In Your Hands should please those who
prefer thought over spectacle; earmarking Doillon out as a director whose
future films may be worth getting your hands on.

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