Anything For Her (2008)

And he means anything

European filmmakers certainly know how to make a good thriller. Take Michael Haneke’s absorbing whodunit Hidden Matteo Garrone’s jaw-dropping Gommorah or Guillame Canet’s nightmare trip down memory lane, Tell No-One. And Fred Cavaye is no exception, as Anything For Her is an intelligent, involving and surprising tale of an ordinary man pushed way beyond his limits.

Julien (Vincent Lindon) and Lisa (Diane Kruger) are a married couple still hopelessly in love, living a perfect suburban life with their baby son. Their domestic idyll is smashed, however, when Lisa is suddenly, shockingly arrested for the brutal murder of her boss. Three years on, she is still protesting her innocence and Julien is doing everything in his power to appeal her 20-year jail sentence. When he realises that the law won’t help, and that Lisa won’t survive two decades of prison life, Julien decides to take matters into his own hands.

The strength of writer/director Cavaye’s story is that it never reveals too much too soon and, apart from the violent flash-forward that opens the film, Cavaye allows his narrative to play out at its own pace despite the film’s concise running time. Thanks to an incredible performance from Lindon, Julien’s growing desperation fuels the film; his fear and determination the catalyst for the increasingly shocking series of events that build to the film’s heart-stopping climax. Indeed this portrayal of a man who is caring father, loving husband and vigilante who will stop at nothing to reunite his family is at the heart of the film. The sincere emotions behind his actions are overwhelming so, instead of being abhorred by his actions, we are sympathetic and virtually rooting for him to succeed. After all, who wouldn’t go to their very extremes for the one they love? It’s a universally understandable concept, albeit one pushed to its limit.

The supporting cast are solid across the board, with Kruger being particularly mesmerising in the limited amount of time she spends on screen. But when she is visible she exudes beauty and passion, and the chemistry between her and Lindon is so electric that it’s easy to believe that Julien would fight to the death to keep this love alive.

And that is the very essence of Cavaye’s film. Although it may touch on wider themes of justice, innocence and morality, at its core Anything For Her is a deep love story, one man’s quest to do anything for her. The fact that it’s also an explosive, edge of the seat thriller is an added bonus.

4 stars

Stars Vincent Lindon, Diane Kruger
Director & Screenplay Fred Cavaye
Certificate 15
Distributor Metrodome
Running Time 1hr 37mins
Opens June 5