Cracks

(2009)

Genres: Drama, Romance, Thriller

Review: Cracks

Transcript for Review: Cracks

IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY:
Our next film is a period drama set in a girl’s boarding school, and it's just an inch away from being a 1970s Roger Corman women-in-prison movie; which is just fine by me. It’s called CRACKS and it stars Eva Green as Ms. G, the diving instructor of a team that includes, amongst other fine young actresses, Juno Temple and Imogen Poots. Overdressed in kimonos and billowing Katharine Hepburn slacks, Green is – to any sane audience watching this movie – a grating, desperate, obvious liar. But to her captive audience of teenage girls, she’s the epitome of style and wisdom, even when exhorting them with nonsense like this:

Clip 2/ “Desire is the most important thing in life”

IGNATIY:
The little self-contained world of the diving team is turned upside down by the arrival of Spanish aristocrat Fiamma, played by Maria Valverde.

Clip 3/ “Fiamma’s Entrance”

IGNATIY:
Ms. G is both entranced and threatened by Fiamma, the only student who knows that the outside world isn’t really full of desire and adventure and whose real travels mirror the fantasy life that Ms. G has invented for herself at the school.

Clip 6/ “There You Are”

IGNATIY:
Like any good entry in its genre, this exploitation movie in schoolgirl drag is about the dynamics of power between the prisoners and their guards. The only difference is here the girls don’t realize that Ms. G is imprisoning, not freeing them with her romantic babblings. CRACKS is very tawdry and blunt, but it’s also an effective parable about the way people – especially impressionable young people – can become complicit in their own oppression.

CHRISTY:
Yeah I kind of dug this too.  In my own guilty pleasure way.  It’s like a hot and naughty British schoolgirl version of Dead Poets Society.  And you know that someone’s going to kiss at some point, like the tension is building, but it never feels tawdry.  Like I never felt dirty watching it.

IGNATIY:
You know the gratuitous night swimming scene…

CHRISTY:
They do go skinny dipping at night as part of the whole process of freeing themselves.  Free yourselves from your jammies, but it’s pretty subdued I think for the most part.  It’s not over the top, there’s still some restrained British-ness about it and yet there’s tension.

IGNATIY:
How do you feel about Eva Green’s performance?

CHRISTY:
You mentioned it’s kind of campy and hammy, but I think that’s intentional as a contrast to who she is.  This persona she’s putting on is all an act, so it was fun.  I think she’s sexy and charismatic so I kind of liked the over the top part of it.

IGNATIY:
It’s very grating I think, but I like it.

CHRISTY:
Well, it’s meant to be to us.

IGNATIY:
Yeah, it’s meant to be completely grating to us and I think this is an effect…a very good demonstration of how you can use what would be considered bad acting to really good ends.  No, I really like this movie as well, but for completely non-guilty reasons.

CHRISTY:
Yeah you feel innocent about liking this movie.

IGNATIY:
I feel innocent about liking this movie.