Three years ago, everything seemed fine for married couple Julien (Vincent Lindon) and Lisa (Diane Kruger): they both had successful careers, and their baby boy Oscar was happy and healthy. But suddenly they were thrown into turmoil when the doorbell to their apartment rang, they answered it, and the police barged in manhandlng Julien up against the wall and Lisa out of the door. Just as she disappeared into custody, Julien heard what she was being charged with: murder, and currently she has been incarcerated after being found guilty. He cannot believe his wife could do such a thing, and now her health is suffering, so what can he possibly do to help?
How about breaking her out of prison? Anything For Her was a slick - but not so slick it lost sight of humanity - thriller from co-writer and director Fred Cavayé that very much followed the Hitchcock style of suspense, with the wrong person accused of a terrible crime, and fighting to escape her ordeal. Yet the focus is much more on her husband as Kruger is largely given a supporting role, so the real star of the show is Lindon who offers a convincing portrait of an ordinary member of the public, a schoolteacher, who is driven to extraordinary acts through the force of love far more than his sense of justice.
Although that said, we are clear that Lisa is innocent after a short flashback to the scene of the crime which spells out what exactly happened to land her in this mess, as it was not her who killed her boss, she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. So now we know that Lisa would never kill anyone, we feel Julien's love for her is validated, and we have far more emotional investment in his plans to get her out of her predicament. Cavayé makes sure not to reveal all at an early stage, so we have no idea how Julien will go about his role as knight in shining armour, but we can see that his shining armour is about to be tarnished the further in over his head he becomes.
Taking this angle provides that suspense, but also adds a shade of depth, as the more the protagonist works out what to do, the more corruption he risks for his soul. Early on, he interviews a career criminal who has written a book about how he escaped from prison many times, and he tells Julien that you have to be a dedicated criminal to get away with what he did, unafraid to leave everything behind and even resort to increasing levels of lawbreaking to the point of murder to secure freedom. Not only that, but he'll need money and lots of it to survive. The odds are stacked against him, and as he looks after Oscar he tries to preserve the boy's innocence even as his own purity is falling by the wayside.
That warning from the career criminal resonates throughout the rest of the film, and Julien follows his advice obsessively, although his schemes do not run as smoothly as he would have liked. His first attempt to find fake passports and documents so he and his family can flee the country ends in disaster when he is beaten up and robbed, but he is noticed by another ne'erdowell who gets him what he needs at a hefty price. Despite the film's apparent dedication to realism there's a good portion of luck and plot convenience in the script, but this does not necessarily detract from the enjoyment as you're intrigued to see where it will head next. This twisting narrative is better than the love aspect, which as the couple are separated for so much of the time is of lesser impact than the excitement, but this is a fine example of its kind for all that. Music by Klaus Badelt.
Aka: Pour elle.
[Metrodome's Region 2 DVD has a making of and trailer as extras.]