Review: In Your Hands

In Your Hands begins promisingly. A woman, distressed, races home from somewhere unknown. She lives in an expensive, modern French flat. She checks her voice-mails: her mother, twice, asking where she has been. Caroline – her boss at the hospital, asking her why she hasn’t been in work. We gather that she has taken time off for a holiday, but that time off has been – shall we say – unexpectedly prolonged. This woman is clearly shaken, upset – we guess at first, perhaps traumatised. A crime has been committed against her, but we can only guess as to its nature. The story so far is reasonably compelling. Then, finally, our protagonist, caving in from anxiety, walks into a police station, and from there, the truth unfolds before our eyes.

What a shame it is that we ever learn her story. It is one that is sad enough, but in a superficial and trite sort of way that screams inauthenticity. This is a movie that starts intriguingly and nose-dives from the moment it is meant to kick in. I cannot go into any specifics, as to give any more plot details away would definitely be unfair to a potential viewer – but suffice it to say that this is tension-free and surprisingly shallow fare. The entire film has a very TV feel to it – not only in the cinematography and editing (I half expected commercial breaks to come on every 15 minutes due to the cornily executed fade-outs) but also in the writing. There is nothing original or profound to be discovered here; simply a predictable and lazily told story which is full of clichés and manipulative attempts to pull off twists. The directions that the plot takes – together with the gratingly poor climax, are the stuff of ITV weekday drama at best.

There are one or two brief glimpses of intelligence and insight, but really the only thing that makes this movie worth seeing is the central performance by that phenomenal actress Kristin Scott Thomas, whose emotional range almost (but not quite) gives a sense of real depth to her character. Even she, however, cannot save this film – the characterisation within is composed of nothing but cardboard, and it’s completely subservient to the machinations of the ‘plot’. On balance, I was incredibly disappointed by the directions this film took, and with the movie as a whole. Sorry.

15 certificate

Review by LiveWire Young Film Critic, James Martin (July ’12)