- Colin Fraser
THREE STARS France's popular detective Maigret returns to solve the case of the naked woman, a hired dress and a missing daughter. DRAMA FRANCE English subtitles #MAIGRET
Starring Gerard Depardieu, Jade Labeste
The iconic detective Maigret is given a new lease of life by acclaimed director Patrice Leconte (RIDICULE and MY BEST FRIEND) leveraging the enormous stature (both professionally and physically) of the French icon Gerard Depardieu (LA VIE EN ROSE, 36 QUAI DES ORFEVRES). Jules Maigret, the hero of over 100 novels and stories published between the 1940s and 70s, is once again on the trail of ne’er do-wells in this well made, period drama.
When a good looking woman turns up dead on the streets of Paris, Maigret follows a trail down some very dark alleys. She hired a ball dress the day before she died, posing the first of many questions the detective has to answer if he’s to solve the case.
Compelling work by seasoned cinematographer Yves Angelo is a terrific complement to Leconte’s tight, charismatic direction. Together they’ve crafted a bleak, ominous version of 1950’s Paris given a hint of Hollywood noir in which only bad things happen. It suits the source material perfectly, but also the underlying themes of loss and longing. Maigret's own daughter has gone missing and the parallels between the case and his own life give the film a deeper resonance beyond a whodunnit framework.
Depardieu’s Maigret is a subdued, withdrawn character who is as interested in resolving the case as he is resolving his personal issues. It gives the story some unexpected depth and resonance. It also keeps matters at arms length - the actor unable to break through his detective’s defences - frequently leaving us wanting more insight, more involvement. As such, Leconte’s downbeat film presents as a well-crafted study rather than a full-blooded experience. However if you’re looking for atmosphere and can overlook the sullen lead, there’s still quite a bit to like about this solid production.