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Comedy of Power (2006)

L'ivresse du pouvoir (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 22 February 2006 (France)
A magistrate investigates a corporate executive.

Director:

Claude Chabrol

Writers:

Claude Chabrol (scenario), Odile Barski (scenario) | 4 more credits »

On Disc

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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Isabelle Huppert ... Jeanne Charmant-Killman
François Berléand ... Michel Humeau
Patrick Bruel ... Jacques Sibaud
Marilyne Canto Marilyne Canto ... Erika
Robin Renucci ... Philippe Charmant-Killman
Thomas Chabrol ... Félix
Jean-François Balmer ... Boldi
Pierre Vernier Pierre Vernier ... Président Martino
Jacques Boudet Jacques Boudet ... Descarts
Philippe Duclos ... Jean-Baptiste Holéo
Roger Dumas ... René Lange
John Arnold John Arnold ... Homme jaguar #1
Jean-Christophe Bouvet ... Me Parlebas
Jacques Bouanich Jacques Bouanich ... Le gardien de la prison
Benoît Charpentier Benoît Charpentier ... Journaliste économique
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Storyline

A character study. Jeanne Charmant-Killman is an investigative magistrate, tough minded, swift moving, taking on a group of political fixers who pay bribes and skim large sums for personal use. She breaks them one at a time. Meanwhile, her work takes its toll: relations with her husband are strained, and the group under investigation strikes back by tampering with the brakes of her car and placing a mole in her office. Can she stand up to the pressure, and what's her reward? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Pan-Européenne [France]

Country:

France | Germany

Language:

French

Release Date:

22 February 2006 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Comedy of Power See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,078,848 (France), 24 February 2006

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,061, 5 January 2007

Gross USA:

$78,917, 23 March 2007
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the 7th and last film in which Claude Chabrol worked with Isabelle Huppert, one of his favorite actresses. See more »

Soundtracks

Peer Gynt
Composed by Edvard Grieg (1875)
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User Reviews

 
flawed but worthwhile
9 June 2007 | by Roland E. ZwickSee all my reviews

In November 2003, after a sensational trial that rocked the Republic of France for four scandal-soaked months, three key executives of that country's ELF oil company were found guilty of massive corporate malfeasance on a scale not seen in Europe since the turbulent days of World War II. The graft, money laundering, and granting of political favors for which these men were convicted extended into the upper reaches of the government as well, so the scandal served a concomitant salutary purpose of finally laying bare that nation's long-established practice of state-sponsored corruption.

"Comedy of Power" is famed director Claude Chabrol's very fictionalized take on the ELF scandal. Yet, while most of the names and many of the details have been changed or even fabricated for the movie, the themes and concerns are obviously very much in keeping with the spirit of the actual event. The always mesmerizing Isabelle Huppert plays a no-nonsense judge who is unrelenting in her pursuit of corporate corruption, obsessed with bringing the culprits - no matter their position or standing in the community - to justice. Refusing to buckle under to pressure from (equally corrupt) higher-ups who believe she is going too far in her investigations, Judge Jeanne Charmant-Killman zeroes in on her "victims," refusing to let go until she gets what she wants. Chabrol and Huppert together create a woman of conviction and strength who, nevertheless, knows her limitations and can even acknowledge what a strain her single-minded determination is placing on her personal life and marriage (whether or not she chooses to do anything about it is another matter).

It's true that "Comedy of Power" feels a little underdeveloped at times, and the somewhat inconclusive and lackadaisical ending may well leave some in the audience feeling dissatisfied and cheated. For while there is a certain bravery in not succumbing to the need for a pat resolution, the movie leaves us wanting to know more about how everything turns out in the end. Yet, despite this drawback, this is an interesting, and, at times, even gripping little drama that gives us a chance to watch a beautiful, dynamic actress in action. It is Huppert's multi-layered portrayal of a moral crusader who is also very much a flawed and vulnerable human being that rivets our attention and helps us wade through all the arcane trivia of the corporate-world plotting. Chabrol keeps the film moving at an expeditious pace, with a tasty mixture of both humor and suspense thrown in for good measure. But it is in the confrontation scenes between Huppert and her various high profile targets that the film truly engages our attention.

In addition to Huppert, Chabrol has elicited uniformly sharp performances from Francois Berleand, Patrick Bruel, Marilyne Canto, Robin Renucci and Thomas Chabrol (the son of Chabrol and the great actress Stephane Audran). As an ensemble, these gifted performers bring the larger issues into focus while keeping us thoroughly engrossed and entertained at the same time.


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