Special Treatment | Film review
Isabelle Huppert’s feral vulnerability almost gives this French prostitution drama some bite.
French filmmaker Jeanne Labrune’s Paris-set feature concerns a prostitute (Isabelle Huppert) whose daily routines—involving dynamics of power, control and elaborate role-playing—find fascinating corollaries with a group of male analysts who orbit her. As always, Huppert is astonishing, projecting a sharp, convincing and almost feral vulnerability. Her abandon and willingness to try anything give the movie a bracing unpredictability. Unfortunately, she also overwhelms the surrounding material, which is marred by discordant tones and an incident-heavy plot. Labrune has a clean, sharp eye for compositional detail, especially evident in her use of sculpture, objects and decor to balance the frame. The narrative’s digressive vignette structure has a suitably suggestive quality, but the film proves too dramatically amorphous to leave much of an impression.