I can only imagine that director Paul Verhoeven takes some sadistic pleasure in knowing that in a theater somewhere, the audience is squirming in their seats and laughing uncomfortably as their work their way through his wonderful character study. Remind me to that him for that next time I see him. Verhoeven ventures where few directors even dare to tread, bringing to life this story with a very taboo beginning and even odder developments still to come. This thriller has nostalgic elements that feel very Old Hollywood and Hitchcockian, but are used in an uncompromising and unconventional way. This film’s reach is only matched by its ambition, and its ambition reached peaks few films dare only dream of achieving. Armed with a focused vision, actress Isabelle Huppert takes command of the story and brings us a complex character that we can empathize with as much as we can judge harshly. Huppert delivers an amazing performance and provides an anchor for a film that could easily have drifted away.