The inspired pairing of two heavy-weights of French cinema-veteran director Claude Chabrol and star Gérard Depardieu-in a psycho-thriller drawn in part from the writings of master detective writer Georges Simenon should prove irresistible for knowledgeable fans of le cinéma français.
Strange as it may seem director Claude Chabrol, who has directed over 50 films, and Gérard Depardieu, who has acted in well over 50, have never worked together previously. That omission has been put right with Bellamy, a thriller with psychological overtones which has been inspired by the writings of two Georges-detective writer Georges Simenon and singer/poet Georges Brassens.
Depardieu, with hangdog look, is the Parisian Police Commissioner Bellamy, who has a lot more on its mind than solving a mystery, when he comes with his wife (Marie Bunel) for a vacation in Nimes in the South of France.
His sojourn is interrupted when he becomes involved with a stalker and an ensuing mystery involving a banker in hiding after local media reports of a burnt out car, a charred corpse and a possible insurance scam. Their troubles are further complicated by the arrival of the commissioner's younger half brother Jacques (Clovis Cornillac), an alcoholic with whom he has a strained relationship. This cues the unleashing of a plot whose twists and turns are playfully and artfully delivered for our delectation.
In creating the character of Police Commissioner Bellamy Chabrol was inspired by no less a figure than Simenon's Inspector Maigret. "The idea for the film was born of my desire to create an homage to Simenon, besides, I think that Gérard Depardieu is so profoundly Simenonesque," Charol has said of his intentions. "I also wanted to pay tribute to Georges Brassens. I thoroughly enjoyed myself playing both registers, the visible and the invisible, that structure the story."
That sense of mischief and pleasure in the craft makes Bellamy a thoroughly intriguing and likeable experience. From Chabrol we would expect nothing less.
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Cast: Gerard Depardieu, Clovis Cornillac, Jacques Gamblin, Marie Bunel, Vahina Giocante, Marie Matheron, Adrienne Pauly, Yves Verhoeven
Director: Claude Chabrol
Screenwriter: Claude Chabrol, Odile Barski
Producer: Patrick Godeau
Genre: Thriller; French-language subtitled
Running time: 110 min
Release date: October 29, NY