Published Sep 25, 2008Critics have been falling all over themselves praising this French adaptation of a Harlan Coben novel. I dont get it. I somehow suspect that if you substituted English for French and Matt Damon for Francois Cluzet, it would be attacked for its political facility and narrative obviousness. But, hey, that could just be me.
Cluzet plays Dr. Alex Beck, whose lifes shattered when hes attacked by a serial killer who brutally murdered his wife Margot (Marie-Josee Croze). Then he gets an email with a video suggesting his wife may be alive. Determined to find the truth, he overturns one too many rocks and finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy in the sordid parts of the world he never expected to see.
But like many a well-meaning Hollywood thriller, the film involves certain elements of class, race and sexual victimization its never fully prepared to handle. Jacking up the self-righteousness to about 11, it condescends to its fallen characters as it stands up for them, and whips its topicality into a sensationalistic frenzy that does nobody any good.
And the film is far too thriller-ish without being anything else. Most good genre movies speak beyond their conventions but this subverts its content to some clunky, uninteresting and, when the revelations happen, frustrating machinations that are on some level crackerjack but on some other level just crackerjack.
Those willing to hold their nose for the questionable politics might be entertained and given the advance praise, you stand a pretty good chance of that happening. But anyone who wants a thematically rich French thriller should check out some Claude Chabrol and give this thing a pass. (Seville)