- Eva Green as Miss G
- Juno Temple as Di Radfield
- María Valverde as Fiamma
- Imogen Poots as Poppy
A chilling and sensual drama about restrictions, lies and bullying, Cracks is an assured and atmospheric debut by Jordan Scott, daughter of Ridley.
In a 1930’s English boarding school for girls, Di Radfield holds the position of queen bee over a group of others. Di is the clear favourite of Miss G, an unorthodox and carefree gym teacher who enchants the girls with tales of foreign travels and romantic trysts. Miss G is the polar opposite of the stuffy teachers that populate the school with various restrictions on behaviour. She believes that the “most important thing in life is desire” and this inspirational outlook on the future makes an indelible mark on the impressionable young girls who follow her every word with the utmost loyalty. The stability of Di’s little group of girls soon changes because of the arrival of Fiamma, a mysterious Spanish aristocrat. The beautiful Fiamma seems to interest Miss G in a strange way, and the attention that she gets is soon leaving Di emotionally bruised and neglected because her status as leader is under threat. As events unfold, Di slowly comes to see that Miss G may not be the inspirational role model she envisaged her to be. What follows is a haunting and mesmerizing account of jealousy, lies and betrayal.
Jordan Scott captures the emotional fallout of events and misunderstanding with an artistic eye that bathes the school in austere shades of grey and blue. Like her father before her, she has a knack for capturing stunning images. From the moonlit swimming of the girls in nymph like fashion to the confined bedrooms of the girls filled with trinkets, Cracks is a visually memorable movie to the say the very least. The screenplay ambiguously delves into the themes of attraction and misrecognition as the girls of the story come to see that Miss G is not all she’s cracked up to be. Repressed sexuality is prominent in many moments of the film and adds an interesting layer to the story. The music makes for a haunting and evocative rumination on the deep and complicated themes mentioned earlier with trickling piano and mournful strings further representing the gloomy surroundings and psychological depths. Costume design is gorgeous, capturing both the restrictive nature of the uniforms the girls have but also the flowery and expressive colours of freedom when they are not in lessons. Miss G especially has an interesting wardrobe which compliments her unorthodox approach to teaching through the wearing of trousers, Berets and headscarves.
Cracks gains its mesmerizing and chilling quality through the superb performances. In the lead role of Miss G, Eva Green is startling and quietly powerful. With just the flicker of her eyes or the curl of her lip, she displays the complexities of this woman. At first she appears to be just a very inspirational and nonconformist teacher, but as layers are pulled back and her unshakeable facade crumbles, we see a sadness and darkness within her that will lead to devastating consequences. Juno Temple delivers excellent work as the jealous and thorny Di, whose obsession with Miss G begins to cloud her judgment. María Valverde adds melancholy longing to her character of Fiamma, who feels alone in this environment and is troubled by Miss G’s interest in her. Imogen Poots is impressive in the supporting role of Poppy, Di’s second in command who follows her every word without question.
Haunting, sensual and melancholy, Cracks is filmmaking that will certainly give you food for thought.