This confident directorial debut from Jordan Scott could be seen as a sexually repressed version of St Trinian’s, or a violent sequel to Wild Child. On its own, Scott succeeds in making it an effectively atmospheric drama about obsession, school-girl crushes and dangerous desires.
Set in a remote 1930s girls’ boarding school, Eva Green plays games teacher Miss G who is something of an idol to the young girls she mentors. After a few homoerotic diving lessons and midnight swims in the school lake with her pupils, it’s clear her interest in the girls isn’t purely academic. But this isn’t a one-way street of desire as Di, a kind of dormitory gang leader of the school girls, harbours a deep respect and sexual fascination for the elegant P.E. teacher. When a Spanish girl comes to the school however, Di and her fellow students find themselves secondary to Miss G’s attentions, and start to become jealous of their new classmate.
Green is suitably enigmatic but adopts a very odd English accent – similar to the one she used in Casino Royale – which gives her vowels a curious infliction so at times one could be forgiven she’s French, upper-class English or even South African. However, this doesn’t get in the way of a remarkable performance, helped by some exceptional acting from her young supporting cast.
The film does spiral into melodrama in its final act, but everything is so well scripted and directed the more hysterical aspects feel exciting rather than ludicrous. Scott, with father Ridley and uncle Tony producing, proves she has a talent potentially equal to her father’s and far superior to her uncle’s. If this had been in Tony’s hands, the school would have inevitably been blown up at some point while everyone shouted nonsensical dialogue over the sound of helicopters. Thankfully his niece Jordan has a more restrained hold on the narrative, making this one of the most interesting film debuts of recent years.
Cracks (2009), directed by Jordan Scott, is available on DVD and Blu-ray from Studio Canal and Optimum Releasing, certificate 15.