and I went to see Female Agents
which we liked a lot. Sophie Marceau is beautiful and tragic as the stoical woman, who, when her brother and commander is captured, becomes the leader of a group charged first with extricating a captured geologist who knows details of D-Day and then with assassinating an SS officer who has guessed important details of the plans. The plot is full of plan and counter-plan, and is one of those stories which does not end well for anyone very much, except the world.
What is really impressive about it is that it does not pull its punches about terrorism and torture. The SOE blackmail two of the women who join the team - one is a whore about to be hanged for killing a pimp and the other is a collaborator who was the SS man's fiancee. The team are none too scrupulous about civilian deaths - there is a gunfight on the Metro - nor about killing every German that they can usefully manage, nor about forcibly recruiting allies. They use each other mercilessly, and are used up.
Their antagonist is not unsympathetic in some ways - obsessed with his ex-fiancee and desperately smart and convinced that his superiors have got it all wrong about an invasion through Calais. Yet he is someone who has been entirely corrupted and corroded by the belief that anything goes - he tortures; he tortures people in front of each other; he is in love with death. The scenes where he has his minions repeatedly half-drown first Louise's brother and later her seem to have a fairly obvious modern application.
This is how people become monsters in every bit of their lives - thinking torture is OK when it is us that are doing it.
A very good film and a very bleak one - it reminded me inexorably and tastelessly though of the famous Mitchell and Webb sketch...
I really hope that no-one has written doom-laden Female Agents femslash, because that would be wrong on so many levels, especially because I would read it...