Pierre Joliver's works often mix fantastic with daily life.His most exciting work,"simple mortal" was an impressive sci-fi work without the special effects paraphernalia.Most of his other works ,although ambitious, fail because of weak endings and cast (Alan Bates is the only real actor in "force majeur" the end of which takes the easy way out anyway) and absurd ideas (why the Middle Ages in "le frère du guerrier"?) Although praised by the critic at time of release,and in spite of a really good thespian (Pierre Arditi who recalls sometimes Serge Reggiani),it has not worn well.
A cop (who is also a writer whose works are ridiculed by the publishers ("Have you ever read "Madame Bovary"?) and his partner ("your book resembles "Madame Bovary")comes back to Paris to be confronted with a married again father -with a woman who could be his daughter- ,and brother ,brother-in-law and sister who 're doing very bad things unbeknownst to him..Strange dreams à la Luis Bunuel (the hero's climbing a mountain while a voice over is begging him " please come down!)and a two sequences at the railway station which verge on fantastic (the clowns scene is particularly disturbing) promise something disturbing,unexpected twists ...But the Pandora's box is empty and the story is so trite that it does not even improve on Gilles Grangier's "125 rue Montmartre" .It would have taken a writer of another calibre altogether,someone like Patricia Highsmith who wrote a novel ("Ripley goes underground") on a similar subject ( fake paintings)which is highly superior to Jolivet's script.Is it a coincidence if we can see one of Highsmiths' books ("that sweet sickness" ) on Arditi's bed? Another problems lies in Arditi's family:all the characters are cardboard only Arditi is trying."Leon"' s numerous fans might be pleased to see Jean Reno play a deadpan cop .The others should rather choose Jolivet's "simple mortal".
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