Widely credited as the founding father of the French Nouvelle Vague movement, Claude Chabrol is responsible for a body of work that is as prolific as it is boldly defined. A master of the suspense thriller, Chabrol approaches his subjects with a cold, distanced objectivity that has led at least one critic to liken him to a compassionate but unsentimental god viewing the foibles and follies of his creations. Inherent in all of Chabrol’s thrillers is the observation of the clash between bourgeois value and barely-contained, oftentimes violent passion. This clash gives the director’s work a melodramatic quality that has allowed him to drift between the realm of the art film and that of popular entertainment.
Born in Paris on June 24, 1930, Chabrol was educated at the University of Paris, where he was a pharmacology student, and at the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques. Following some military service, he developed an interest in the cinema and worked for a brief time in the publicity… read more
Chabrol's enjoyable twisty thriller is adapted from a novel written under a pseudonym by former Poet Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis, father of Daniel. Set in Normandy, it concerns a grieving father's determination to trace the owner of a car responsible for the hit-and-run death of his son. A contrived plot development leads him to the guilty party and an opportunity to exact revenge but events don't go according to plan..
I was expecting this to be good, but I wasn't prepared for how amazing it was! I've read a lot of reviews comparing Chabrol to Hitchcock, and while their choice of material is similar, their execution varies. I loved how muddy and grungy the film looked, while at the same time retaining an air of class and sophistication. Chabrol is definitely more of a realist than Hitchcock, his evil bubbles under everyday society and everything feels low key, but the suspense is still there. When I watched Le boucher a few years ago I remember being underwhelmed by how low key it was, but this time it engulfed me. Paul was quite the character, too. He reminded me a bit of Joseph Cotton in Shadow of a Doubt and Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet. All very different characters, yes, but he's one of the few antagonists I've encountered with such a presence. I just loathed him, but I liked to loath him. I love when a great character creates such a strong reaction. Chabrol is a master manipulator. He has the audience in the palm of his hand from start to finish, stringing us along with each new delicious twist. But there are also genuine pathos here, and the ending knocked me out. I recommend this to anyone who likes fine cinema and a great thriller!