Monday, 4 October 2010

JUSTE AVANTE LA NUIT/Just Before Nightfall

The late Claude Chabrol doing what he did better than anybody - exploring guilt against the background of the outwardly respectable French bourgeoisie. Add to this two of his most sympathetic actors - his wife Stephane Audran and the always excellent Michel Bouquet (also teamed in LA FEMME INFIDELE) and a plot that starts with a murder and you know you are in for something special. There is no mystery here as we see the murder in the opening minutes of the film (which begins with a visual quote from Hitchcock's PSYCHO) because as I said above Chabrol's interest lies not with the crime but with the guilt - and it is not necessarily the guilt felt by the murderer. For, being a Chabrol film, everybody else in the film becomes equally guilty after the fact, a witness, the victim's husband, the muderer's wife, even the police. And, of course, it's as French as a shrug of the shoulders. Rating ****

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