This movie,although fictionalized,is based on true events .
And to think that a lot of critics used to put disparagement on André Cayatte's works ! He did better in this field than Antoine Raimbaud .André Cayatte would have focused on the character of the suspect ;the excellent Laurent Lucas is given so little time on the screen it's a wonder he 's been given top bill along with the lawyer and the ex-juror : his final lines, however , means more to me than the interminable speech for the defence , a speech the average viewer has already heard a hundred times or more .
Today's movie character is par excellence the brilliant lawyer ; for good measure, the screenwriters call Hitchcock to the rescue . One of the movies they mention is proof positive that Cayatte was right when his movies dealt essentially with the accused : " the wrong man" would have been terribly boring if one had not seen it through the eyes of Henry Fonda 's character.
And Laurent Lucas with his hangdog looks was up to scratch ; a victim of the public opinion , his "way of the cross" (to quote him) could have been absorbing.
Olivier Gourmet is probably ,along with Jérémie Rénier , the best contemporary Belgian actor ; but his character is cardboard ;he does not renew the genre,by a long shot : in this field, he does not cut Charles Vanel and Paul Meurisse ("La vérité") , Raimu ("les inconnus dans la maison" ) or Charles Laughton ("witness for the prosecution") .
The same goes for Marina Foïs ,who can be deeply moving ,even when she is given a thankless part ("darling" ); her fictitious character is clichéd to a fault : of course she is divorced ,her new companion is black -he only serves as a foil to her- , she is a chef in a thriving restaurant.Her accident is pure filler and the last-minute witness is a trick which has been used countless times in the past .(see for instance Clint Eastwood's "true crime" )
The computer age makes the beginning of the movie complicated instead of complex; the viewer gets lost among a lot of characters who play insignificant parts in the tragedy.In fact ,it's mainly interesting when the vanished lady's lover and her babysitter -the actress has to be praised,during her short appearance,she blows everybody off the screen- are in the courtroom .
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