"“Office Space meets Showgirls. Honestly....”"

Now I'm not often one for conjoining two separate film titles with the word “meets” predictably, and somewhat clumsily dumped in the middle, but on this occasion it feels somewhat apt; as Alain Corneau's Love Crime is Office Space meets Showgirls. Honestly.

Corneau – who has sadly passed away since making this title – presents a film about a bullying, vindictive executive Christine (Kristin Scott Thomas) and her seemingly susceptible assistant Isabelle (Ludivine Sagnier), and the intense, psychological battle that ensues between the two ambitious workers. Isabelle's instinctive and intelligent propositions are giving her a big reputation, and her hard work is in danger of overshadowing her boss’s. However, when Christine manipulates the youngster and takes the credit for her assistant’s ideas, it soon becomes a war of the workplace, and one that has no limits...

Given the narrative to Love Crime, there is no reason why it can't be a taut, suspenseful psychological thriller, as although taking place predominantly in an office, it's still effectively a battle between two people, and could take pointers from the likes of No Country For Old Men in this regard. However, it's lacking in any intensity, and neither role is particularly intimidating.

Love Crime is one of those features that lives for its finale, a film building up towards an evident twist, cerebral and cryptic within its approach. However, what actually transpires is all too obvious and transparent. Nonetheless, the second half is considerably more enticing than the first, as you reach the big climax of the two women's vengeful battle. Yet given the weak first impressions from the early stages of this film, we lose our faith in it, so by the time we reach the second, better half, it's already too late.

The biggest fault with Love Crime is the low-budget look of it all, as a film with little to no production values. It's got a similar atmosphere to the daytime soap opera, Neighbours – and that's since the move to Channel 5. It simply feels amateur, from the obvious framing, to the bright lighting and lack of perspective or shading, all complete with a dodgy saxophone score. Such a poor aesthetic could be excused somewhat had the narrative been strong, but given that this is lacklustre in itself, it merely highlights just how badly produced this feature is. Given the look and ambience of the film you can tell within seconds that isn't going to be particularly good, and first impressions are vital to the overall enjoyment of a film.

The acting isn't too bad, however, despite the occasional sex scene which is difficult to watch (that's where Showgirls comes into it), and I do admire Corneau for the concept. The structure is also difficult to criticise, as the layout and the way in which the story unravels is intelligently presented. However, when you mix a poor visual experience with a highly mediocre screenplay and a film missing any suspense or emotion of any kind, sadly it makes for a somewhat disappointing experience for the viewer.