Greta (2018)

NEIL JORDAN

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB

/USA, 2018.  , , .  Story by , Screenplay by Ray Wright, .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Film Editing by .  Toronto International Film Festival 2018.

plays a lonely waitress in New York City who finds a purse on the subway, locates the address written on the driver’s licence she finds inside it, and returns the bag to its owner.  The receiver of her thoughtful gesture is a lovely older woman () who welcomes Moretz in for tea and the two strike up an intimate friendship, their connection intensified by how much Huppert misses her daughter who is studying in Paris, and the void left for Moretz by her mother’s recent death.  The younger woman’s roommate () disapproves of her friend spending so much time with this strange new character, but our heroine is undaunted until a wonderful twist (that is one of the film’s juiciest reveals) makes her realize that Huppert is, in short, a madwoman.  Trying to distance herself from her new friend upon realizing this unfortunate fact backfires when Huppert starts showing up at Moretz’s home and her work, stalking her, calling her and unleashing a rage upon his girl who thinks, as far as the villain is concerned, that she can just use people and then throw them away.  Neil Jordan’s strongest direction in years has him treating his audience like the proverbial frog in a pot of water, slowly raising the heat so that by the time you realize that you’re boiling to death in terror, it’s too late to do anything about it: a woman in her sixties being this crazy is the stuff of comedy and you need take not consider her a real threat…and she’s going to make sure you regret underestimating her like that.  Huppert provides Maximum Isabelle in a role that will certainly go down as one of her most unforgettable, chewing up the scenery without the slightest apology, smashing tables and screaming Hungarian curses; one would love to see what an even kinkier director like Roman Polanski or Paul Verhoeven would make of this Fatal Attraction meets The Vanishing insanity, but Jordan still manages a perfectly campy ride that comfortably runs a streak of enjoyment alongside abject fear.

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