“The Crying Game” maker Neil Jordan brings the psychological thriller GRETA another film that is defined not least by its twists. We’ll reveal in our review whether that makes it a similarly big hit.
The Plot Summary
Frances (Chloë Grace Moretz) finds a handbag in the New York subway and doesn’t hesitate to bring it home to its rightful owner. The bag belongs to the elegant widow Greta (Isabelle Huppert), who is very happy about the young woman’s visit. Frances quickly becomes friends with the older lady, as fate seems to have brought two lonely souls together. But she soon finds out that Greta is only using her handbags as bait to lure the honest finders to her…
Explanation of the Ending
With his indie success “The Crying Game,” which combines drama and thriller elements, director and author Neil Jordan delivered a modern film classic that, among other things, gained fame for its infamous twist, but also went down in cinematic history as a gripping theme of the Northern Ireland conflict. But time flies: 27 years have passed since then. Immediately after “The Crying Game,” Jordan followed up with “Interview with a Vampire,” which was also very successful, before a series of flops (sometimes respected by critics, sometimes less respected) followed. In 2007, Jordan blossomed a little at the box office again with the psychological thriller “The Stranger in You” before “Ondine – The Girl from the Sea” and the vampire film “Byzantium” were brutal commercial flops, but at least received a favorable critical response. With a global box office total of over $13 million so far, “Greta” is a very small number compared to “The Crying Game” or “Interview with a Vampire,” but Jordan’s latest has already more than surpassed the box office of “Byzantium.” beaten by 15 times. In addition, “Greta” is, in a way, a throwback to an earlier phase in Neil Jordan’s career: This story of two women is full of twists and turns and cannot easily be squeezed into a genre box: Is it a paranoid thriller? A drama about a young woman who misses her mother and therefore becomes friends with a clingy, older lady? A campy parody of thriller dramas about sensitive women? All three together?
Frances (Chloe Grace Moretz) finds a stranger’s purse on the subway.
Either way, “Greta” is a film that the once respected, now forgotten distributor Miramax would have released in theaters in the early to mid-90s. A program cinema oddity. Albeit one that is nowhere near as good as one would hope. The whole thing gets rolling when the young New York waitress Frances finds a designer handbag in the subway that its owner must have obviously forgotten. While Frances’ hard-partying, wealthy and sarcastic roommate and best friend Erica (Maika Monroe) thinks she should follow the motto “Whoever finds it, he owns it,” Frances wants to take the honest route. Since the purse also contains the wallet and ID, Frances personally returns her find to the owner, the piano teacher Greta, who lives in a spacious apartment in Brooklyn. The polite lady with a French accent quickly becomes friends with Frances, whose best friend Erica is uneasy about everything: she sees Greta as a clinging quirk and accuses Frances of ignoring all the warning signs because she hasn’t yet gotten over her mother’s death and is now looking for a replacement mother figure.
You only need rudimentary film experience to understand that Ray Wright and Neil Jordan’s script will veer into the subject of stalking, although the writers take their time before putting these cards on the table. The phase in which “Greta” is supposed to appear ambivalent is therefore the biggest weak point of this film: the interplay between “Oh, Erica is too suspicious” and “Oh no, Frances should be careful!” with overemphasis on the ideal world. moments and even louder overemphasized moments of shock, which are actually harmless, but which Jordan underlines with panicked orchestral sounds, are silly in the better cases and so unintentionally funny in the weakest moments that “Greta” slips into the unintentionally parodic category. However, as soon as Jordan finally lets go of this “Oh, could this be a film about stalking?” game, “Greta” catches on: Isabelle Huppert clearly has fun playing a manic, pseudo-sophisticated lady. And even if the script doesn’t give her any motivation or other deep character aspects, the “Elle” lead actress makes up for this with ironic intensity. Acting flourishes, such as the dreamy prancing after a brutal act, are fascinating and amusing, no matter how strange they may be.
This stranger is the elegant widow Greta (Isabelle Huppert).
And “Suspiria” supporting actress Chloë Grace Moretz? This provides a suitable target for Greta’s (not always) passive aggression: Moretz fills the enormous naivety that the script stamps on her role with a sympathetic good-heartedness, which means that Frances’ various bad decisions remain hair-raising, but plausible in the context of this story appear. Although there is no captivating tension, there is still a pull effect as Wright and Jordan’s black humor (Frances’ superiors don’t want to help her while Greta harasses her because Greta has a reservation) and a veritable mass of twists lively in each other mix up: The writers make up for the predictability of the first act by constantly hitting hooks throughout the rest of the film. Some announce themselves very clearly in advance, others are skillfully deceived. So “Greta” still finds its groove after the awkward start – as a campy thriller drama that deliberately lays it on thick. Why the actually so capable cameraman Seamus McGarvey (“Bad Times at the El Royale,” “Anna Karenina”) The events are mostly illuminated as if “Greta” were a cheap Lifetime television film, but remains unclear, but later on the film emphasizes once again that “It Follows” discovery Maika Monroe should get more film roles.
Conclusion: Neil Jordan’s “Greta” is a silly stalking film, but it is quite entertaining thanks to its twisted second half and its actresses.
“Greta” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from May 16th.