|Index||7 reviews in total|
13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
A pretty good detective film, with some very unconventional characters, 16 June 2000
Author: jameswtravers (email@example.com) from London, England
This is actually rather a good, but not particularly noteworthy, detective
movie. Chabrol re-uses a character of an earlier film, Inspecteur
from Poulet au Vinaigre, which was probably the most successful ingredient
of that film. This later film is more entertaining and accessible than
Poulet, primarily because it benefits from having a much better script,
more than a smattering of humour. In addition, the main characters are
better drawn and acted than in Poulet. Of particular note are Jean-Claude
Brialy playing Lavardin's outrageously camp and eccentric host, and Jean
Poiret, now comfortably installed in the role of the unconventional, if
to say dangerous, detective Lavardin.
The plot is quite sophisticated, with some clever twists and turns. The unmasking of the murderer and the transfer of guilt are quite cleverly engineered, although the conclusion does raise some questions about Lavardin's (and Chabrol's?) own personal morality. That, coupled with Lavardin's somewhat brutal technique from extracting truth from the witnesses and suspects, can only serve to undermine his position as the good guy in any subsequent film.
6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Sex, lies and the hidden camera, 15 December 2006
Author: jotix100 from New York
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A serene scene showing two young boys playing above a quiet beach
changes completely as a dead man is seen naked in the rocks below, with
the word "pork" written on his back. The man, Raoul Mons, a successful
writer, has appeared before at his home just about to have dinner with
his family. He is summoned to the front door where a group of concerned
citizens have to come to enlist his support in condemning a theatrical
troupe that is staging a blasphemous play in town. Mons, it will be
discovered was a man living a double life.
Enter Inspector Jean Lavardin, an astute investigator who also happens to be acquainted with the widow of the dead man, Helene Mons. The inspector was called to help solve Raoul Mons' death. Lavardin is puzzled as to the reaction of this woman, who confesses she hated the dead man and had only married him for convenience's sake. Lavardin encounters a strange household in which a homosexual man, Claude, has a strange hobby of creating human eyes. In his collection there are eyes of celebrities as well as ordinary people. Then there is a teen ager, Veronique, who is docile, sweet and shy, at least on the surface.
It takes Lavardin a while to sort through all the clues he discovers during his visit to the Mons' estate in the outskirts of the small town by the sea. He catches a tangled web where wealthy citizens of the town have been involved with the shady owner of the disco in the heart of the old town. The revelations are surprising as well as the conclusion to this story.
Claude Chabrol brings back Inspector Lavardin, who surfaced to fame in his previous film, "Poulet et Vinagre". Jean Poiret returns as the inspector who discovers that what he is being told is not necessarily the truth. All the elements of the detective genre are found in this film that for us was not as satisfying as the previous film, although the movie is by no means a misfire. Mr. Chabrol's son Mathieu created the music score and Jean Rabier, a good cinematographer captured the story in glorious detail.
Jean Poiret is fun to watch because he doesn't act like a regular detective. He has his own methods which pay for him handsomely. Bernadette Lafont, an actress that has worked with Chabrol before, plays a woman who is mourning for a former husband while having to deal with the mystery at hand. Jean-Claude Brialy is fun to watch as Claude, the gay sculptor of eyes. Jean-Luc Bideau is the creepy owner of the disco.
The film will please fans of Mr. Chabrol.
4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Witty Chabrol teaser(possible spoilers), 21 December 2000
Author: Alice Liddel (-firstname.lastname@example.org) from dublin, ireland
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The great thing about Inspecteur Lavardin is that he has no redeeming
qualities whatsoever. He is, as an old friend remarks, 'an ex-thug, now a
cop'. He has none of the wit, eccentricity or flair we expect from our
fictional detectives, none of the artistic mathematics of Holmes, the dandy
comedy of Poirot, the dogged integrity of Marlowe, or even the warped moral
fervour of Harry Callahan. He is a grim authoritarian, illiberal,
homophobic, who counters wit with a threat, menaces the vulnerable and weak;
utterly humorless, any wit merely self-satisfaction at someone else's
He is the perfect vehicle for Chabrol's art, a moral force whose godlike powers of detection and final rewarding of spoils subvert his social, rational role. In Chabrol's world, the innocent are always guilty, but sometimes he sounds a grace note, and the guilty can be truly innocent. Lavardin doesn't solve a crime, he exposes hypocrisy, corruption, evil. Chabrol's later (post-1975) films are less vice-like than his mid-period masterpieces, and in some there is hope for trapped characters to escape, as does the shadowy Peter Manguin, who in a previous Chabrol film would have been driven to inexorable, elaborate murder.
it's not all that rosy though - the final image of the 'restored' bourgeois household, mother and daughter staring out zombie-like at the departing detective, has some of the ironic force of 'La Femme Infidele''s ending, a bitter image of withdrawn, probably mad maternity, and an innocence that has seen too much.
As with the first Lavardin film, 'Poulet et Vinaigre', surveillance is the main theme. In Chabrol's earlier films, spying was a form of control by one person on another; here his net casts longer. Chabrol is famous for his switches in point of view, in spending much of the film with one character, before abruptly turning to another, complicating, even casting doubt, on the preceding narrative.
Although most of of this film is seen from Lavardin's commanding point of view, there are moments when the film seems to escape it (e.g. Francis' first appearance, or Veronique's final blackmailing pay-off), but Lavardin is soon revealed to be gathering knowledge unobserved, a virtual panopticon from which no-one is free (not even the paparazzi who seem to catch him with Helene unobserved on the beach).
much is made of new media of surveillance - the case is solved by a hidden camera, a point of view significantly taken up by Chabrol's camera before it is revealed - but these are simply extensions of Lavardin's gaze: in one brilliant scene, the 'real' world of the film and that at a remove through CCTV cameras meet, when the inspector talks to a man in the same room we see on screen. To reinforce the point, a key figure in the plot has as a hobby the exquisite sculpting of marble eyeballs, in a scene which virtually gives away the plot early on.
the big difference between this film and its predecessor is the figure of Lavardin. In 'Poulet', he is a shadowy figure who only dominates in the last quarter. Here, he is on screen from nearly the beginning, and has profound personal links with the case, the murdered man's wife having been a lover who abandoned him. He claims his amateur searching for her led him to the force. The closing, bitter joke, however, involving the photo of his family, casts doubt even on this intriguing psychologising.
As ever with Chabrol, there is a strong comic element in the film, strangely disrupting the film's earnestness - the murder scene, with its threat of rape, is made ridiculous by the victim's porcine squealing. The bourgeois-baiting comedy is so entrenched in Chabrol as to have lost most of its sting, although the rigid framing of the family dinners, despite all the criminal goings on, is priceless.
The characteristic Chabrolian 'metaphysical' implications are at first rendered absurd with the blasphemous play, but when Lavardin replaces the crucifix after he's solved the case, and his general sense of a haunted house (this is one film where the present is fractured by the past in a startling way, not least in its references to Chabrol's previous oeuvre) that you're not quite sure. It's a shock to see Bernadette Lafont, that sexually voracious force of early Chabrol so prim, distant and bourgeois, although there's the odd glint in that huge come-hither mouth that suggests otherwise.
5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
the return of inspector Lavardin, 3 July 2007
In the middle of the eighties, it would be interesting to see what the
survivors of the New Wavelet have become. Well, François Truffaut
passed away in 1984 and Eric Rohmer persists in signing empty, sloppy
films to show his "skills" at film-making. Her majesty Jean-Luc "God
Ard" only keeps his small handful of faithful intellectual ones happy
with his hermetic products like "Détective" (1985) or "je Vous Salue
Marie" (1985). Same judgment for Jacques Rivette who drive many
movie-goers indifferent with his version of "les Hauts De Hurlevents"
(1985) (Wuthering Heights).
Fortunately, there's still Claude Chabrol to deliver us a worthy, understandable film even if his production as a whole is patchy. In 1985, "Poulet Au Vinaigre" boosted his career again and so the temptation to give it a sequel was inevitable. "Inspecteur Lavardin" is the heir of the 1985 film and features again the same main character plunged in the same bourgeois universe, in a different provincial town this time in Dinand in Brittany. He's still acted by Jean Poiret who seemed irreplaceable in this role.
The writer Raoul Mons was found murdered on the beach and Lavardin has to find the culprit. His investigation is the opportunity for Chabrol to break the respectable appearance of the upper-class milieu but also to include unexpected twists about the plot, notably when Lavardin found who the murderer is. Like in "Poulet Au Vinaigre", humor is the main motor of the film, notably with the way Lavardin employs to make his suspects talk. More than in the 1985 film, the witty personality of this maverick cop is more precise and deepened for the audience.
"Inspectur Lavardin" isn't as intense as "la Femme Infidèle" (1969) or "le Boucher" (1970) but with a palatable story and good acting in the bargain, it would be a shame to skip it. In 1988, a TV series entitled "les dossiers secrets De l'inspector Lavardin" will be launched and four installments will be shot.
NB: video and TV play an important role in the film. It must have given an idea to Chabrol about the direction his next film would take: "Masques" (1987).
One of Chabrol's most entertaining characters, but also one of his duller movies, 31 May 2011
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The sly, unorthodox, eccentric, rule-bending Inspector Lavardin, marvellously played by Jean Poiret, is one of the most entertaining characters you can find in a Claude Chabrol film, some might even argue that he is THE most entertaining of all. However, this film is methodical to the point of sedation; Chabrol's direction is mostly flat (with the exception of some stunning overhead shots), and the film plods along without ever really working up much suspense about who the killer(s) might be. The resolution, when it comes, does score some extremely timely points about the hypocrisy and amorality of powerful and "respectable" men (the parallels with a very recent incident that made worldwide headlines are shocking!). **1/2 out of 4.
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
INSPECTOR LAVARDIN (Claude Chabrol, 1986) ***, 11 June 2010
Author: MARIO GAUCI (email@example.com) from Naxxar, Malta
This sequel to COP AU VIN (1985), in which Jean Poiret's eccentric
title character is given more screen-time, proves to be almost as good;
if anything, he is less detached towards his current case since the
victim's wife (Bernadette Lafont) is an old flame of the Inspector's!
Besides, the sleazy vicissitudes of the murder mystery here are
somewhat more compelling than in the first film involving as it does
bigamy, drug-trafficking, incest, infidelity, patricide, paedophilia,
Once again, Lavardin locks horns with one of the suspects in particular, a discotheque-owner who unwisely flaunts his political connections at him. As I said, the protagonist is allowed plenty of opportunity to display his idiosyncrasies such as when he willfully destroys the fragile collection of ornamental eyes owned by Jean-Claude Brialy (playing Lafont's spirited live-in gay brother), or when, at the disco, he first appropriates for himself a drink being poured to a paying customer and, then, interrupts the activities to request identification papers from suspicious-looking patrons!
However, the women are not only scarcer than they were the first time around but also less interesting: Lafont herself is oddly given little of substance to do, while the actress appearing as her daughter (who has more to do with her stepfather's death than her mother could ever imagine) is simply too nondescript for such a pivotal role! Otherwise, the film offers much the same level of entertainment and maintains a more or less comparable standard of quality as the original.
3 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
Predictably flaccid, 31 December 2006
Author: whist from United States
I don't understand people's affection for Chabrol's films. I've watched
a handful of them and they are fungibly torpid.
In Inspecteur Lavardin we have a set of smarmy characters - all utterly amused with themselves and their problems - and a story that, despite what other reviewers claim, reflects very conventional values and mores. I can't complain too much about the structure of the story. It is akin to the British variety - there's a murder, a set of suspects, all of whom seem to have something to hide, and a detective who ping-pongs among them matching secrets to the subjects, and the one left over is the murderer. However, one gets the feeling that Chabrol never in his life read a detective novel or watched a police TV show or movie (or just couldn't be bothered with the pesky details) since he, through his characters, seems blissfully unaware that there might be a tradition of procedures for homicide investigation and evidence collection. Or maybe in France they just don't care about fingerprints or cataloging evidence for trial. The problem isn't that the inspector is immoral or amoral, but that he is uber-moral (forgive my neologism, if it is one); that is, he is presented as knowing what's best despite what's legal. Stories about cops taking the law into their own hands is nothing new. But Chabrol does the least with it by having the well-coiffed inspecteur uphold middle class values and condemn those who would prey on the young and the weak. Great, if you happen to be a 13 year old girl, but otherwise insipid.
As I said, I can't fathom the charm Chabrol and his leaky films have over reviewers. Give me a Holmes or Marlowe any day.
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