'Cracks' (unrated)

The beautiful Eva Green ( The Dreamers, Quantum of Solace) glides and slinks around Cracks like an impossibly graceful swan. This elegant, cultured woman, a diving coach at an English all-girls boarding school in the 1930s, feels out of place in such a drab, limiting environment. Miss G., who is single and appears to have no life outside of her job, is obviously capable of doing much more. But she seems perfectly content training her girls and treating them in a kind yet firm manner, and they, in turn, adore her.

Cracks, which is based on the novel by Sheila Kohler and marks the directorial debut of Jordan Scott (daughter of Ridley), kicks into gear with the arrival of a new student, Fiamma (Maria Valverde), a Spanish aristocrat possessed by an independence and maturity the other girls lack (she is also a talented diver). Initially, the others resent her, but Miss G. recognizes something special about the teen. Paced slower than a snail race, Cracks examines the tumult Fiamma’s presence casts on the formerly orderly school. Her wealth and upbringing make her peers jealous, and she begins to suspect Miss G. hasn’t really traveled the world and seen all the things she’s constantly bragging about.

Once Miss G. realizes that Fiamma is onto her, her attitude toward the newbie starts to change — and not for the better.. There’s more than a bit of Lord of the Flies in Cracks, although that comparison makes the movie sound more intriguing than it is. As a director, Scott is more interested in atmosphere and group dynamics than in storytelling. Although Green is the sort of actress you can’t take your eyes off , her presence is not enough to keep this movie from becoming mired in a slow and predictable rut.

Cast: Eva Green, June Temple, Maria Valverde, Imogen Poots, Ellie Nunn, Adele McCann, Zoe Carroll, Clemmie Dugdale, Sinead Cusack.

Director: Jordan Scott.

Screenwriters: Ben Court, Caroline Ip, Jordan Scott. Based on the novel by Sheila Kohler.

Producers: Julie Payne, Kwesi Dickson, Andrew Lowe.

An IFC Films release. Running time: 104 minutes. Vulgar language, brief nudity. In Miami-Dade only: Coral Gables Art Cinema


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