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a disappointment in Patrice Leconte's work
After a series of movies all excellent since "Tandem" (1987), "les grands ducs" is the first real disappointment from Patrice Leconte. Critics and public slagged it off when the movie was released in the beginning of 1996.
What to say about this film? It isn't a really bad movie. What surprises is the rapidity with which Leconte shot his movie. It gives the impression of a quickly made and somewhat botched movie. That's why it appears as disappointing. All right, Patrice Leconte adopted a lively and brisk making, full of liberty and movements and it is obvious that he gave Jean Rochefort, Philippe Noiret and Jean-Pierre Marielle a free hand. These three strapping fellows have a tremendous time in their respective roles and I am obliged to recognize that it is nearly a treat to see them going over the top. Furthermore, the comical situations are well organized even if a little predictable.
In short, the mayonnaise isn't thickening because the rhythm of the movie is too fast to be really interested by the story. Leconte should have shown more rigor and too much liberty, too many gestures end up exhausting the attention. "Les grand ducs" remains a bombastic and excessive film which has its funny sequences but it isn't to be ranked among Leconte's major works.
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