The title character, played by Tavernier’s “alter ego” Philipe Noiret, is benumbed by the nihilistic activities of his son Sylvain Rougerie. Arrested on charges ranging from arson to murder, Rougerie offers the standard-issue explanation.
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Tavernier comes to grips with the provocatively resigned politics of Simenon too late in the piece. It is more political to kill one 'swine' than to join the leftists. Only the last twenty minutes achieve the peculiar density of a great film.