This impressive two-hander, starring Kristen Scott Thomas as a woman who has been abducted, was given a rather lukewarm reception upon its theatrical release earlier this year. In my opinion, it was underrated. In Your Hands is actually an intelligent, superbly acted, quietly intense psychological drama about regret, revenge and desire.
Scott Thomas is a splendid actor. She has contributed a series of fascinating performances to French-language cinema in recent years, including I’ve Loved You So Long, Leaving, and Sarah’s Key. In this film she plays a surgeon. She doesn’t have much of a personal life, and lives alone in a gorgeous Paris apartment. She is abducted, seemingly for no reason, by a young man. He proceeds to keep her prisoner and tells her to work out why she is being treated in such a way. She realises why, they talk, and then things get deep and unsettling.
Some may accuse this of being Haneke-lite, and I can sympathise with such an assessment, though I would defend the film by saying it doesn’t try to thriller or disturb its audience. Its aim, if I read director Lola Doillon’s film correctly, is to lead the viewer by the hand into an emotional quagmire then leave them there. We are left out at sea with our leading lady, unsure how to navigate a difficult and emotive situation.
Its abrupt ending doesn’t give the drama the conclusion it deserves, but a dramatic showdown would have seemed inappropriate, so it’s understandable why Doillon ended her film in the way she did. This isn’t a stunning picture or a major highlight of the year, but it is an interesting, well-made piece that deserves respect and close observation.
In Your Hands (2012), directed by Lola Doillon, is released on blu-ray disc and DVD in the UK by Artificial Eye, Certificate 15.