36 Quai des Orfèvres
France – Dir: Olivier Marchal – 4/5
(This is the review I did when I saw
the film at the 2005 Sydney Film Festival.)
This is a very stylish and fast-moving policier from France, obviously
paying homage to the 1947 Henri-Georges Clouzot film ‘Quai des
Orfèvres’ (which is the address of police detective headquarters
in Paris). In that film, the thriller plot seems just to be an
excuse for an atmospheric portrait of post-war Paris. Here, also,
the style of the film threatens to engulf the narrative, which is quite
convoluted, and sometimes hard to follow. But the style does
extend to the music, which is very good.
Two police agencies are pitted against each other (‘0CU’ vs
‘BRI’). The first half of the film is very cool & fast
moving. However, the film tips over into melodrama at the wife’s
funeral, and it begins to fall apart at that point. There are too
many loose ends. The character of the wife is too conventional. The
character of the blonde female police officer goes nowhere. I’d
have liked to know more of her story.
Still, I enjoyed the ride, I loved seeing location shots of Paris, and
I can imagine this turning into a weekly TV police drama of some merit.