Francois always despised the textile barons who ruled his local town. But he fell in love with the family heiress Gilberte. Ten years ago, he would have married her. Now only hatred holds them together. Francois is accused of murder. A hooker and a football star lie slaughtered. He thinks he has been framed by the mob. Going underground, he finds that the trail leads all the way to the top - to ... See full summary »
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Francois always despised the textile barons who ruled his local town. But he fell in love with the family heiress Gilberte. Ten years ago, he would have married her. Now only hatred holds them together. Francois is accused of murder. A hooker and a football star lie slaughtered. He thinks he has been framed by the mob. Going underground, he finds that the trail leads all the way to the top - to Gilberte's family. He needs friends. And friends are hard to come by in his town. Written by
Scores more for its ambitions than its achievements
Le Corps de Mon Ennemi may ultimately have a conventional plot motor after seven years inside for a crime he didn't commit, Jean-Paul Belmondo's failed social climber returns to his home town to have his revenge on the real killer but Henri Verneuil's film has loftier ambitions than most of his previous successful collaborations with the star. Much of the film takes place inside Belmondo's head, both in lengthy voice-over sequences and flashbacks that see his younger self played very deliberately by the middle-aged star, a device that occasionally confuses the timeframe as the film moves back and forth between his rise and fall as the poor boy romances local factory boss Bertrand Blier's daughter Marie France Pisier, only to fall out with the family when he won't scupper his own father's election chances, and the generally ignominious fates of his former friends and enemies seven years later. Unfortunately the film tends to fall between two stools: there's not enough action or threat for a genuine thriller while the observations on the class war in the increasingly sprawling town are nothing new, the motive for framing him seems unnecessarily vague and the idea of local industrialists raking back the wages they pay out by running as many of the town's vices on the side as possible is never really explored (though it is amusing to see them unwittingly left playing Monopoly with each other while Belmondo slips away to arrange a killing). It's watchable even if Belmondo lays on the self-confident charm way too thick in the first half, but you're definitely left with the feeling that there should be a lot more to it.
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