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Cracks (2009)

Cracks is the directorial debut of Jordan Scott (daughter of Ridley Scott), in a period piece drama which saw a very limited release in the UK and France.  As an Eva Green fan I sought this one ought as I've found everything I've seen her she's given an incredible performance.  While Cracks definitely has many "cracks" in the framework of it's story, this is another case where Eva knocks it out of the park in what progresses into an extremely twisted character, and in my opinon her best performance yet.

At an elite all girls British boarding school a group of students participate in the swim team.  While they never actually compete against anyone it's been a release from their mundane lives at the school and their wishes to return home.  The swimming instructor is Miss G (Eva Green), another reason the girls enjoy swimming, she's not like the rest of the matrons at the school she's fun, nutty and very charismatic, which lends the girls to grow an overwhelming fondness towards her.  But that relationship is all about to change with the arrival of a new student from Spain, Fiamma.

Fiamma's a Spanish aristocrat and her arrival to the school begins to throw off the school's natural balance, where everyone was treated the same now it seems Fiamma is given a little extra attention.  Those most affected by Fiamma's arrival is the swim team's captain Di (Juno Temple) and Miss G.  Fiamma is quite the independent spirit and doesn't take lightly to Di's bossing, something she's not used to, and Fiamma also manages to raise the bar for the swim team which once used to be held by Di, earning Fiamma the approval of most of her classmates and more importantly Miss G.

Before Fiamma's arrival Miss G could simply be described as eccentric, always wide-eyed and enthusiastic, telling the girls stories about her travels to far away countries and how she hope to soon continue them.  But upon Fiamma's arrival the truth begins to slowly be revealed and Miss G's behavior and actions begin to grow a little more disturbing with every passing day.  Her fascination towards Fiamma quickly begins to break suitable boundaries and leaps into obsession, and as Fiamma continues to reject the interest Miss G continues to show her she starts to take this rejection out on her students who are ironically jealous of the attention Fiamma is receiving.  This only causes Di and some of the other students to dislike Fiamma even more, and don't take kindly to her treatment of Miss G.  Fiamma quickly becomes a target of the team's blind admiration for their instructor who soon takes her obsession too far and risks her reputation being smeared, her students blindly follow her end up being dragged down into the pit with her.

Cracks is at times quite disturbing, especially in the final 20 minutes where everything takes a swan dive and Miss G and her students seem to completely lose it.  My main issue with the film is the story is too vague about key issues, it's as if you're getting an abridged version of one person's account and not the whole story.  To a point I understand Miss G's fascination with Fiamma, here is a young girl who has actually experienced most of the things that Miss G falsely claims as her own, but in her attempt to become closer to Fiamma she ultimately comes off as extremely creepy.  And when Fiamma threatens to expose her lies the obsession transforms into something even more bizarre. 

It's when the film's climax is set in motion that I don't know what to think, is Miss G a complete pervert or simply completely mentally unhinged?  Personally I think it's a combination of the two, but whatever the case Eva Green definitely gives an amazing performance as someone completely "cracking", as her character begins to take a deep spiral into her own perversion's while taking the students who hang on her every word down with her.  Both in her look and performance she flawlessly manages to portray a person losing all sanity and giving into the demons of her soul.

As a whole Cracks is definitely an interesting film, although I'm torn between the average quality of the story and the outstanding performance of Green in combination with some amazing scenery and musical score.  It's a film I'll definitely have to watch again to truly be able to grasp a firm opinon of, but until that time it's still one I can certainly recommend checking out if you have the chance simply because everything in the film that's done well out weighs the sometimes average story.


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