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May 17, 2010 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

Anything For Her

One sub-genre that always seems to survive throughout the trends is the prison break-out movie. There is always something so satisfying in seeing the wrongfully accused or hardened criminal outwit the system—no other explanation can be given for Tim Robbins’ crawl through a pipe full of shit being one of the most enjoyable cinematic moments of the 90s. Still, due to the multitude of these films in existence, it takes a certain calibre to leave any impact. Anything for Her is a French thriller that aspires to join the ranks of the great nail-biting escape films of the past, and sadly, just misses.

It’s not that there is anything wrong with the film, it just doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. Julien (Vincent Lindon) and Lisa (Diane Kruger) are a couple happily in love. Lisa gets locked up for a murder she didn’t commit, and after the exhaustion of all legal options, Julien plots to break her out of prison himself.

The writing isn’t terribly original or clever, and sidesteps tackling a twist-filled planning and escape, in favour of the human drama of the characters. Watching Julien turn rogue criminal and obviously, the final escape, provide enough excitement to constitute its naming as a thriller, but I almost expected more tension, especially after storming out the gate with one of the most intense opening credits sequences in recent memory. Nevertheless, despite its predictable turns, you can’t help but be moved by the characters and riveted by the tension of the final act.

All of this is elevated tremendously by its leads. Both Lindon and Kruger are fantastic and ground their characters in believable emotion, which validates their story, even when things get a little far-fetched. Yet while Anything for Her achieves both believable action and drama, it never manages to surprise us, concerning itself a little too much with the “why” of the escape, rather than an intricate “how”. A good film, but just a little too standard to truly stand out.

Anything For Her
Director: Fred Cavaye


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