Michele (Huppert) is the victim of a brutal rape by a masked assailant, and decides not to alert the police. She continues work as head of a video game company and mentions the event only casually to her friends. When she starts receiving anonymous, threatening texts, she realizes she is being watched. Suddenly the men in her life all seem suspicious, including a disgruntled employee, a concerned ex-husband and a handsome neighbor.
Adapted from Philippe Djian’s award-winning novel, and nominated for eleven French Césars, this incendiary psychological thriller is just the type of movie director Verhoeven (“Basic Instinct”) does best. Huppert is sublime, delivering a complex portrayal of a woman who refuses to be victimized. It’s a joy to observe this seasoned actress working at the peak of her powers, and hardly surprising that she was Oscar-nominated. Watch the kinky, perverse “Elle”, and you’ll see why.