Within the pages of an 1867 Emile Zola novel lie the seeds of film noir. The hothouse cravings and bloody deeds of Thérèse Raquin travel in a straight line to James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice, books that became a poisoned wellspring for the tawdry postwar American cinema known as noir. Zola gives you the skeleton of the form, fleshed out with a bored married woman, a handsome artist, sexual combustion, and murder. This corker has been newly filmed, in its original period setting, as In Secret—an unfortunately stolid version of Zola’s story.
Rising star Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene) plays the central role. Thérèse has been raised by her fearsome aunt (Jessica Lange, almost but not quite breaking through to something formidable), whose own son Camille (Tom Felton) has been a sickly near-brother to Thérèse during childhood.