Eva Green isn’t your typical Bond girl. Producers sought her out primarily for her fearless—and fearlessly naked—debut in The Dreamers, pegging her as an actress both fuckable and brainy. After Casino Royale’s success, Green resisted Hollywood, turning instead to a series of small, challenging and, alas, not very good indie art films. Cracks is another film admirable in theory and blah in execution, even if it re-proves that its leading hottie can act.
Green plays Miss G, the flowery, charismatic swimming instructor at a remote English boarding school in the 1930s. Her pupils adore her, none more than Di (Juno Temple), for her syllabus includes more than mere diving: She exposes them to fashion, controversial books and other wonders of the world outside their lush, pastoral digs. Into their fold comes someone who, unlike Miss G, is truly world-traveled: Spanish blueblood Fiamma (Maria Valverde). And that’s when this educator, who already always seems to be acting, hammily, for her impressionable charges, unravels.
The feature debut of Jordan Scott, daughter of Ridley and niece to Tony, Cracks deserves credit for tackling the underexplored subject of teenage female sexuality. But Scott, who co-adapted Sheila Kohler’s novel, never goes far enough. She tries to meld The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie with Picnic at Hanging Rock, but it’s never as insightful as the former and not technically capable enough to mimic the latter. At least Green does strong work, never telegraphing her character’s madness and achieving one moment at the end worthy of silent cinema acting. Even better, Temple scores another dynamo performance, following Greenberg and Kaboom. Watch this girl.
Eva Green’s two most prominent film roles to date exist at opposite sides of the taste spectrum: Bernardo Bertolucci’s controversial, sex-filled The Dreamers (her debut), and Casino Royale. Over green tea in a swanky Union Square hotel, PW spoke with Green about Cracks and Michael Haneke.