Channelling the psycho-sexual stalker vibe of 80s thrillers such as Fatal Attraction or Single White Female, Neil Jordan’s Greta is lurid and preposterous in all the right ways.
Chloe Grace Moretz is Frances, a new girl in New York. “The city will eat you up,” says her sassy, rich flatmate who lets her stay in her ludicrously nice Tribeca loft that Daddy’s paid for.
Frances finds a smart handbag left on the subway and, instead of taking the cash and maxing out the credit cards on a spa day, she takes it back to the owner (the driving license gives the address), who turns out to be a little French lady, Greta, in a quaint house who likes playing piano. She befriends Frances – they’re both mourning recent losses – and despite the age gap seem to be having a good tim. Greta take Frances with her to buy a rescue dog.
But Greta becomes clingy, turning up at the restaurant where Frances works, popping up everywhere. Jordan ramps up the Hitchcockian vibes and Huppert dials up the unhinged psycho act, like she did in Verhoeven’s Elle a couple of years ago.
Suddenly, the film lurches and twirls, like it’s having an panic attack, like the big city’s getting to it. Huppert goes out of control, her tiny, booted feet stomping around, her eyes sparkling with devilish intent.
This being Jordan, there is a gothic element to the house and a fairy-tale darkness, as well as an obligatory hangdog appearance from Stephen Rea, who’s probably miserable that only Neil Jordan still casts him after all these years, and even then in a rubbishy cameo part.
But it’s good fun, a bauble, a sketch, a doodle, a divertissement, and Huppert dances through it with a ruthless perfection.