‘Elle’ Trailer: Paul Verhoeven Returns With a Violent French Thriller
Paul Verhoeven hasn’t released a new film since 2007's divisive World War II thriller Black Book, but the cult favorite director returns this year with two new films — one is the crowdsourced indie Tricked (opening soon in New York), and the other is the far more intriguing Elle, a French language thriller starring Isabelle Huppert, a cat and a hammer.
Huppert is no stranger to films that blend eroticism and blunt violence, having appeared in movies like The Piano Teacher and The School of Flesh, and even sort of satirizing herself in I Heart Huckabees. This makes her the perfect match for Verhoeven, a director best known (and loved) for satirical, social commentary sci-fi like RoboCop, Total Recall and Starship Troopers — but he’s also great at making erotic thrillers like Basic Instinct, Black Book and Showgirls (I will go to my grave defending the latter as one of the most misunderstood and undervalued films of our time).
Verhoeven has remained satirical throughout his entire career, though you don’t really get that impression from the trailer for Elle. The film stars Huppert as a woman who responds in an unconventional way to a horrific home invasion; instead of indulging in the behavior expected of victims and reinforced by the media, Huppert’s character finds herself drawn to more overt acts of sexuality and violence. The trailer indicates a film that combines elements of erotic, revenge and home invasion thrillers, with a welcome Verhoeven twist.
Elle is currently in post-production and will hit theaters sometime this year. Meanwhile, Verhoeven’s Tricked is set for a very limited release later this month. That film is a unique project with a crowdsourced narrative, and should yield some interesting results.