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..it's not convincing.Having spent time in jail,and been sentenced to death,Jose Giovanni knows what he 's talking about;that's why the very first scene,when Girardot defends a man whose head is almost in the guillotine ,promised great things.Death penalty is inhuman,that's for the theorem...
Now the proof:it's an unbelievable hotchpotch where you meet every cliché available in the screenplay field: corrupt Police (and politicians),brave lawyer(Girardot) who pulls all the stop to reveal the truth the whole truth and ..etc ,her incredible clients (including an infuriating chic woman who wants to divorce (and get a substantial alimony),an -of course alcoholic- ex-surgeon (who was once of course,the lawyer's former lover),his farm where he takes in every junkie of the area (most of 'em caricatures of post'68 students),Brasseur,escaping from the guillotine with the help of a razor which he finds during his last mass (complete with communion),hostage-takings, false evidence,murders ,and more and more and more..enough is enough.I gave up well before the final spate of unexpected twists -and murders -.
Giovanni had made a more convincing plea against death penalty in "deux hommes dans la ville" (1972) with a simpler script .One year later,Mitterrand abolished the death penalty in France:it's doubtful he was influenced by this mess.
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