Monday, December 14, 2009

Un crime (1993)

I heard that this movie was a disaster when it came out, but after watching, I must say that I like it. Most of the movie took place in the same apartment, with 2 actors only. It reminds me of one of the movies I like: Sleuth, with Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier.

Un crime is based on Gilles Perrault's book called Le dérapage, but director Jacques Deray made a very loose interpretation that it was said the author couldn't recognize it anymore. The story is as follows: The trial of young Frédéric Chapelin-Tourvel (Manuel Blanc), which has been going on for months, interests all people in Lyon. He is accused of double murder: killing his mother and father. His brilliant lawyer, Charles Dunand (Alain Delon), finally can convince the jury that the accused is not guilty. What is supposed to be a great victory to Dunand turns into a nightmare when Frédéric tells him that he is indeed the killer. Is Frédéric serious? They make a rendez-vous in the crime scene, where Frédéric tells Dunand what really happened in the night of the murder.

Although the cast is minimum, the movie is very gripping. Another interesting character is the concierge, whom Frédéric treats badly. It makes sense then when he testifies in the court against Frédéric; it can be said that he tries to get revenge. All through the night, Frédéric keeps changing his story to Dunand. First he says he is the killer, and next, her mother's lover is the killer. Dunand shows him holes in both stories and when he feels he has had enough and left the young man, Frédéric bumps himself into a running car to get his attention and to get the lawyer back into the apartment. The next scene shows Frédéric has a bath. I wonder if the nudity is necessary and I think it means he is now ready to bare it all. Dunand then learns that the root of the problem has started years ago, when Frédéric was 12, and for the first time, the young man is ready to open his heart to his lawyer, who after months of trial has become some kind of father to him.

Dunand knows the truth in the end, but of course he is not happy. Justice doesn't exist, he says. "It's enough to rub shoulders with the justice to know it doesn't exist." For men, maybe. Only God is just. What is just for one person is not always just for another. Justice is not exact, it's often like shadow. For Frédéric's father, justice is perhaps done, but what about Mr & Mrs Chapelin-Tourvel? Le monsieur, didn't he take care of Frédéric? Fed him and schooled him?

Manuel Blanc's Frédéric is full of anger and bitterness that I don't have sympathy for him. From the first he tells Dunand that he wishes to save the family's reputation. I myself would prefer he is not that angry and shows innocent on his face (it would be easier for his lawyer and jury to decide, right?) - like young Alain Delon's Tom Ripley. What did his mother's lover mean to him, anyway? He hardly recognized that man.

The movie features beautiful buildings in the city of Lyon, which are well photographed. In short, this movie is not to be missed.

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