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Maigret Sets A Trap
OK, let's address the reason you're reading this first: Did Rowan Atkinson rise above it all?
Yes, he did - and in the process he completely divorced us from anything he had ever done in the past. It's possible that this worked well because he's an older man now and looks the part - it's more likely that he was simply masterful in making a dull and outwardly dispassionate character so captivating.
The story itself is ludicrously simple... Maigret sets a trap! After five murders, Maigret is under pressure from all sides of Parisian society to capture a killer.
At a dinner party he is inspired into creating a trap following a conversation he has with a criminal psychologist. The gamble pays off of course and at the end, a solemn, stoic Maigret walks off into the distance with a private wry smile on his face - a job well done.
This is a drama... not an action movie. The cops have guns but no guns are drawn and not a single shot is fired. It will probably be agonizingly dull for young people.
The scenery, photography, costumes, props and direction were beautiful and the movie was 100% traditional 'Noir' in every popular sense of the film world. The shadows and lighting, cars, streets, the brown... (lots of brown!), even the smoking and the hats... all Film Noir!
The horrible 'incidental' music almost destroyed this production. There was no need for it at all, but there it was, loudly guiding us through each scene, each emotion and every minor turn of events. Hopefully the DVD version will have the option to play the movie WITHOUT this distracting, interfering and extremely noisy mess.
Kill the music and you have the perfect TV movie.
Well worth the wait and bravo, Rowan for leaving it all behind and being our new favorite cop... well, second favorite after Inspector Foyle? Time will tell.
As a lifelong fan and reader of Simenon's novels I have to say they got the glacial pace and the melancholy feel absolutely right. Also Atkinson's calm and soft-speaking portrayal is the first proper portrayal of Maigret I've ever seen (all the others were a bit too flashy for my taste). My problem was the script. It was melodramatic at times (like the 'I hate you, I hate you' scene at the end) and it all lacked a point. Simenon painstakingly analyzed each and every character and aspect of French society of the time all of which was missing from the film. The writer seemingly settled on just telling the story which isn't good enough. Bottom line: excellent performance from Rowan Atkinson (completely forgot I was even watching an actor, let alone Mr. Bean) and excellent direction but a shallow and almost operatic screenplay. Can't wait for the second episode.
Well, I have seen the film. And I liked it. It's not a masterpiece and
certainly not the best adaptation of Simenon I've seen, but it's good
enough to entertain and satisfy those who missed watching Maigret. It
succeeds in recreating the claustrophobic atmosphere of Simenon's
novels, and even if the screenplay is a bit uneven at times, the
overall result is very good. The production design is great, and
Budapest looks perfect as Paris.
The performances by the cast are all above average, but it's Rowan Atkinson who steels the screen every time he's on it. I've said before and I'll say it again: his casting came as an absolute surprise to me, as I would never have thought of him as a possible Maigret. But the truth is he made the part his own. So much so that at a certain point I forgot the actor and saw only the character. Very, very good performance by Atkinson, proving he's much more than just a great comedian, he's a great actor.
If you are looking for the best adaptation of this story, I suggest you get your hands on a copy of the 1958 french version "Maigret tend un piège", directed by Jean Delannoy and with the great Jean Gabin as Maigret (to me the best of them all, but that's me). But if all you want is to spend 90 minutes with Maigret and watch a well told and even better played story, then you could do worse than watch this one.
I will certainly be looking forward for the next film in the series, "Maigret's Dead Man". Welcome back, M. Maigret!
I will highly rate this film for several reasons.
First, this is George Simenon, a 1st class writer. Second : Rowan Atkinson understood the role, the character and the script.
This is a Filme Noire at it's best. The fact that it involves murder is of little consequence, this is about character portrayal, this is a look into the reasoning and understanding of the personas of people and their solitudes, their anguishes, their souls, their darker depths..
In my personal opinion Rowan Atkinson nailed Maigret in a contemporary format. He was subtle and did not overplay. My image of Rowan has completely changed, this man can act, he feels, sees and behaves his role.....
But the film was not just Rowan Atkinson, it was an entire cast, it was a Mise En Scene as it should be... This is exemplary of what can still be done today outside of the glamour of Hollywood..
Living in France I have obviously seen the Maigret films and episodes and this film in no way undermines not fails the originals...
Well done to the screen writer, director and cast for producing a down to earth and deeper portrayal of what has become customary, well done for taking a step aside and giving us something to watch that goes beyond the superficial...
Although this will never become a classic, it is definitely worth adding to any repertoire...
Since this is my first Maigret I was impressed with the film. I think it is amazing how nice everything looks, especially the costumes and cars, the details are astounding! I can't comment on music, as I didn't even notice it, was too mesmerized by the image and story. Maybe some scenes were too long, but in general it was of a right length. I am a big fan of Rowan Atkinson, since The Blackadder series so I may be biased, but I really enjoyed this crime series. I remember when I was younger I even adored Murder She Wrote :)). Anyway, it's nothing like Cumberbatch' Sherlock, but it has it's own charm, I highly recommend it! I believe we can never have enough murder mysteries!! I'm off to watch Gambon's Maigret now, see what the fuss is all about! Cheers!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film had some trouble with the story line .During the investigation questions were asked Of the mother and the maid that didn't match . If the family was behind several months in rent how did they have a maid . And why would the killer be loved by two women that he despised for so long. I don't think I have seen that kind of dysfunction on Jerry Springer . The writing fell apart halfway through this film .Because the movie was English everyone was so calm and reserved .The climatic ending was very soft something that should have happened midway Which would have left the movie opened for a truly explosive and more shocking end. No this was just a PAY the rent film . I wouldn't sit through another episode of this kind of story telling . But you can give the cinematographer and the lighting tech's a thumbs up they gave them a Beautiful visual Platform ,it just did not have the story or the direction to push it over the top .
This Maigret novel (MAIGRET TEND UN PIÈGE) has been filmed various times previously (such as with Michael Gambon as Maigret in 1992), and may have seemed a sound choice for a brief series of new feature length adaptations for ITV. But it is a tricky one to adapt, because it starts so slowly and most of the excitement is in the second half. The main attraction of this effort was doubtless everybody's curiosity as to whether Rowan Atkinson, so famous as a brilliant comedian, could possibly pull off a feature-length straight leading role in anything, much less a famous character like Maigret who requires gravitas. The good news for Atkinson is that he proved he can be serious for two hours and is an accomplished straight actor if given the opportunity. In order to try not to be funny, it is possible that he occasionally was a bit too gloomy and morose in some of the scenes. But never mind. He did not disgrace himself, and that is what matters. As to how he stacks up against previous Maigrets, that is a different matter. I have seen (though not reviewed, alas) the 1958 French film of this story starring Jean Gabin. Anyone who has seen that excellent film cannot take this new one seriously. And as for the lead role, how many actors can compare with Jean Gabin, one of the most magnetic personalities ever to hit the screen? Ashley Pearce who has directed this film is no match whatever for the brilliant and inspired Jean Delannoy, who directed the 1958 film and is famous for such classics as PASTORAL SYMPHONY (1946) starring Michèle Morgan and LOVE ETERNAL (1943), written by Jean Cocteau. The script was also shaky, because this is not at all an easy story to adapt, as I have already said. I believe it was a production error to start with this one. The film is chiefly remarkable for the wonderful production design and costumes. Apart from some shots of the Montmartre steps in Paris, the location work for this film was done in Budapest, which worked very well. The most outstanding performance in this film was unquestionably by the young actor David Dawson, as the murder suspect Marcel Moncin. He was made up to resemble Vincent Kartheiser of MAD MEN, which was very clever really. His expensive silk dressing gown was superb. I want one of those. For such a young actor with little experience, Dawson managed to control and pace his performance to a masterly degree. And that ain't easy when you are playing a psychopathic killer disguised as a calm, measured artist of good family. Dawson did just the right amount of quiet sulking when he was thrown into jail, and became hysterical only at the correct moments. This story gets very dramatic in the latter half, having nearly put us to sleep for the first. The other superb performance in the film was by Fiona Shaw, as Dawson's cloying, obsessive mother. Help! Protect us from such women! My favourite actor as Maigret is the quietly fascinating Bruno Cremer. I have the entire series of 54 episodes (1991-2005) starring Cremer, and they never disappoint. Anybody who likes Maigret should try and obtain them, which is not easy with English subtitles. It is a pity that this new ITV film is so disappointing, especially with all that excellent work done by the designers and some of the performances having been so good. Let's hope the next one with Atkinson, MAIGRET'S DEAD MAN (2016 but not yet broadcast) will be better. It has a different director, Jon East. (He really ought to direct something with Timothy West, and then it would be a case of East meets West. Just joking.)
Watching another version of Maigret inevitably prompts comparison
between Rowan Atkinson's interpretation of the role and that of
previous actors: Rupert Davies and Michael Gambon on television,
Maurice Denham and Nicholas le Prevost on radio. While lacking the
physical and vocal presence of all of these actors, Atkinson brings a
quiet dignity to the inspector's personality; a police officer
remaining unflappable even in the face of adversity, such as the
prospect of being removed from the case due to an inability to obtain
The plot of MAIGRET SETS A TRIP is less of a whodunit and more of a whydunit. We know quite early on in the episode who the murderer is; what matters is to find out precisely why they should have decided to kill innocent women. When Fiona Shaw appears as the suspect's mother, in a highly florid characterization full of tragic expressions and melodramatic gesture (inviting a Freudian interpretation of her relationship to her son), we can understand the victim's behavior.
Stewart Harcourt's script contains some clunky dialogue (one particular nugget occurs when Maigret says "take care" to a group of plain- clothes female police officers who are about to go on the streets of Montmartre, thereby putting themselves in danger of being attacked by the murderer). Yet Simeonon's source-text is so astutely structured that it emerges intact, despite the screenplay's best efforts to ruin it. We sympathize with Maigret as he patiently fits the evidence together, asking all the right questions and coming to conclusions as a result.
Filmed mostly in Budapest, standing in for Fifties Paris, apart from some location shots in Monmartre, Ashley Pearce's production reinforces familiar stereotypes about the French capital as a place for lovers, or citizens prepared to spend their days sitting outside in cafés watching the world go by. The period atmosphere is meticulously recreated, although it seems just a little too chocolate-box like on occasions.
This episode ends with a shot of Maigret walking away from camera along a tree-lined road (the Jardin des Tuilieries, perhaps?), thereby reinforcing the familiar tele-stereotype of the detective forced to live a solitary life in his efforts to solve crimes. This version of MAIGRET might have its faults, but it is sufficiently watchable to encourage us to watch further episodes.
Well, here's the first part in the latest detective film series made
for television. Sets in the 1950s Paris, starred by Rowan Atkinson in
the title role like you have never seen before. No doubt that he's a
comedy legend, from the small kids to elderly men loves his shows and
films, but recently he had needed a breakthrough and this film provided
Detective themes, especially solving crimes are always expected to be more intelligent with full of twist and turns by the viewers. Be it Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes, the European style, especially in the classic attire including the black hat and pipe smoking, never fails to deliver. It was also adapted from the books by a Belgian writer. Very neatly told story that focused only one particular case. Another 3 films are due, one in later this year and the other two are set for next year. If you love Murder mysteries, then it is certainly worth a watch.
Okay, the story takes place in the French capital, Paris. It opened with a catchy music track and the opening credits including the title graphics are with an impression of very classic. With the unsolved murder cases in the hand, chief inspector Jules Maigret visits a new crime scene where another young woman was killed. He finds a similar pattern in all those events and learns a serial killer on the loose. So instead to follow the clues he never got one, he decides to set a trap, a risky one. Well, does the killer take a bait, and if he does, then how Maigret proves his crimes to the press who are eagerly after the case since day one and the public who are shocked and scared of these killings is the film told with some style.
"So how would a killer react... If someone else was given credit for his crime?"
It is a perfect narration, if not an intelligent as you were anticipated. Because you know in the history of 100 years of film, there are hundreds of detective films and surely you might have seen at least a dozens that tops the league. So the prediction becomes your first priority which makes the turnarounds in the storytelling in a film is a normal thing. That's how you won't get much excited, unlike if you're young and haven't seen many which makes it is one of yours early films in this theme.
Either way, it is a fine film. No matter how much you guess the next scenes and the dialogues or just sit back to enjoy, you will be well entertained in those 90 minutes. That mystery tone was well maintained in the whole narration. Even when Maigret nears to solve the crime, somewhere, somewhat, something tells you that it's not over yet and proving the crime becomes the subplot with increasing pace towards the conclusion. My only disappointment was the killer's motive. In order to make Maigret a great character, the negative character loses its strength otherwise it is almost a masterpiece.
The focus on the characters was limited, especially in the first half it was all about Maigret and a bit of others who he was associated with like family, colleagues et cetera. Only after the halfway mark it expands and explore a new dimensional view as a possibility when a suspected criminal enters the frame. There's no room for the dull moments. I don't know the difference between the book and this film, but they got all the best parts to fill it with the interesting stuffs to keep the rhythm high at all the time. The film ends with the same French track as the opening, setting its trademark.
The 'Johnny English' star in a similar character, but very serious and authentic. By the end this film series would definitely define his acting career to a new line. I am already beginning to think of the big screen version of this tale. But as a customary, lets wait for the next installment titled 'Maigret's Dead Man' which obviously going to be another classy. Well, that's the result, I'm hoping for. A British film about a French detective written by a Belgian writer, this is among the best summer films of the 2016 that you should not miss.
I have never heard about Maigret before, so i must admit my reason for watching was Rowan Atkinson. After watching a few minutes, i came to the realization, that this would not be entertaining in the same way that i have gotten to know Mr Atkinson. Putting that aside, i was able to start enjoying the story and the twists. The story was actually a bit "out of the box" and believable characters. It was one of the better police/detective stories i have seen in years, albeit not being my genre. If you would like to turn off your Facebook, chats and all else, this will be an entertaining little show(?) to watch. Its not too long, neither too short.. and overall good quality in all aspects. Enjoy.
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