Better think fast: that expensive ladies’ handbag someone’s left on the metro is bound to be swiped by the first wastrel who sees it. Do you rescue it and to see where it leads you? Well of course you do, and especially if you’re Chloë Grace Moretz as bored New York waitress Frances, who clearly needs bit of intellectual excitement in her life (that’s what hanging out with Brooklyn Beckham does for you). Like an angel of mercy, Frances does the right thing and, ignoring the protestations of her flatmate (a feisty Maika Monroe) who sees the chance of a night splashing the anonymous cash ebbing away, she takes it back to its owner, a widowed European eccentric called Greta Hideg (Isabelle Huppert). What Frances really seeks is a mother figure and the lonesome Greta willingly fits the bill – at least at first. But the girl has, of course, stepped straight down a rabbit hole. There’s a signpost up ahead, next stop: the psycho-bitch zone!
After a seven-year absence from the big screen (since 2012’s Byzantium), the mercurial undulations of Neil Jordan’s career plateau somewhat with this handsomely-shot but clichéd psychological chamber piece. From a story by Ray Wright (who co-wrote the screenplay with Jordan) it’s small in both scale and budget, unfurling from that tasty Roald Dahl-style proposition of an opener into an all-female three-hander. As the unhinged Greta, Isabelle Huppert gets all the best lines and all the darkest laughs, proving yet again that she’s at the top of her game and getting better with age. The obligatory Stephen Rae cameo (this being a Jordan movie) is engineered for the sole purpose of providing Huppert a moment of demented nastiness so splendid you’ll wish the whole movie could pirouette away with such unselfconscious glee.
As it turns out, the oodles of class Huppert brings to proceedings aren't served by a script that crunches through the gears rather too predictably once the big ‘ah-ha!’ twist is out the way early on, and runs out of originality completely come the ending, which relies on a thriller trope so creaky you’ll want to spray WD40 at the screen. A bit of a let-down given its credentials, but there’s still enough macabre high-jinks and deft directorial touches from Jordan to make it just about the sum of its Polanski-esque parts.
GRETA / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: NEIL JORDAN / SCREENPLAY: RAY WRIGHT, NEIL JORDAN / STARRING: ISABELLE HUPPERT, CHLOË GRACE MORETZ, MAIKA MONROE / RELEASE DATE: APRIL 18TH
Expected Rating: 8 out of 10