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The Great Alibi (2008)

Le grand alibi (original title)
A psychoanalyst and consummate womanizer is brutally shot while his wife is standing over him with a revolver in her hand.

Director:

Pascal Bonitzer

Writers:

Pascal Bonitzer (scenario, adaptation and dialogue), Jérôme Beaujour (scenario, adaptation and dialogue) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Miou-Miou ... Éliane Pages - la femme d'Henri
Lambert Wilson ... Le docteur Pierre Collier - un psy séducteur
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi ... Esther Bachmann
Pierre Arditi ... Le sénateur Henri Pages
Anne Consigny ... Claire Collier - la femme de Pierre
Mathieu Demy ... Philippe Léger - un jeune écrivain
Caterina Murino ... Léa Mantovani - une actrice italienne
Maurice Bénichou ... Lieutenant Grange
Céline Sallette ... Marthe
Agathe Bonitzer ... Chloé
Dany Brillant ... Michel - le chauffeur et factotum de Léa
Emmanuelle Riva ... Geneviève Herbin
Nicolas Koretzky Nicolas Koretzky ... Bertrand
Jim Adhi Limas Jim Adhi Limas ... Owen (as Jim-Adhi Limas)
Alain Libolt Alain Libolt ... Le contrôleur
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Storyline

Like every weekend senator Henri Pagès and his wife entertain guests at their beautiful mansion in a peaceful village near Paris. But this time around, things go awry: Pierre Collier, a psychoanalyst and consummate womanizer, is brutally murdered. Claire, his wife, dazed and confused by his corpse, with a smoking gun still in her hand, seems to be the ideal culprit ... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

30 April 2008 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Alibi e sospetti See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The detective Hercule Poirot, the investigator in the original novel, is absent from the film. See more »

Connections

Version of Dangerous Women (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Agatha Christie in the French style
20 July 2008 | by guy-bellingerSee all my reviews

The legal successors of Agatha Christie were known to be very strict with film producers. Their terms of reference indeed implied that the screen adaptations of Lady Agatha's mysteries were to be set exclusively within the four-decade period (1920's-1960's) in which she had been active and in the very places she had described (England most of the time of course). Then in 2000 or thereabouts they suddenly relented and started accepting adaptations that were less faithful to the letter provided of course they stuck to the spirit of the original work. As a result, the stories could be updated, the action relocated while the sacrosanct investigators (Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, …) could be replaced by more anonymous though not necessarily less colorful local sleuths…

Would Miss Christie's celebrated whodunits survive such a treatment?

It looks as though they do.

In France Pascal Thomas was the first to step into the breach (he made two adaptations, 'Mon petit doigt m'a dit' and 'L'heure zéro' and his currently shooting his third one). Now it is Pascal Bonitzer's turn to offer French viewers his own re-reading of 'The Hollow', first published in 1944, oddly retitled 'Le grand alibi' (a title previously used for the dubbed version of Hitchcok's 'Stage Fright').

The common point of the three films is that their plot has been transposed to contemporary France, that they are very faithful to the source novel (their plot twists have not been altered or very little) and that they play by the rules of the detective story genre, never outsmarting the writer and each time providing the viewer with a very satisfying mystery climax.

What distinguishes them is the tone adopted. While Thomas' two films have a quirky offbeat poetic humor Bonitzer slashes at his characters in a harsher, more down-to-earth way, notably through nasty, biting dialogs.

A senator (self-assured, no-nonsense Arditi), his conventional wife (hilariously goody-goody Miou-Miou), some of their relatives and their guests (womanizer Lambert Wilson, sex-bomb-with a brain Caterina Murino and others all played by very competent actors) are not left unscathed by Bonitzer (and Christie, it goes without saying)'s scalpel.

Anyway, whether adapted by Thomas or Bonitzer, evidence is that there is more to Agatha Christie's crime stories than just well constructed but hollow pulp fiction. What allows her writings to transcend time and borders is the characters she created, most of them hiding their vices behind the varnish of good manners. Finding the murderer is also unveiling the dark side of human nature. What is more universal?


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