Rampling plays Samantha Morton, a novelist who churns out formulaic mystery crime thrillers. When writer's block obstructs her output, her publisher (Charles Dance) suggests a stay at his summer house in Provence, France. There's just one omission: Also residing at the abode is his daughter Julie, a young precocious temptress whose promiscuous lifestyle threatens to disrupt--or even implode--repressed Sarah's regimented routine. That is, until Sarah's insatiable voyeurism turns to creative inspiration as her attention turns from another Inspector Dorwell adventure ("Inspector Dorwell on Holiday," "Inspector Dorwell Wears a Kilt") to headstrong, youthful lust.
But Julie turns out to be more complicated than first impressions suggest and, as the relationship between the two houseguests ricochets between hostility and complicity, through cat-and-mouse games Ozon peels the layers of both characters and subverts traditional thriller patterns. The end result is an entertaining drama, showcasing strong performances from both actresses. Sex, murder, mystery, psychological drama, vintage Rampling, sensuous Sagnier, and a summer house in Provence--here Ozon has all bases covered.-- Starring Charlotte Rampling, Ludivine Sagnier and Charles Dance. Directed and written by Francois Ozon. Produced by Olivier Delbosc and Marc Missonnier. A Focus release. Mystery/Thriller. Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language, some violence and drug use. Running time: 102 min.