Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB
Original Title: Bellamy
France, 2009. Alicéléo, France 2 Cinema, DD Productions, Région Languedoc-Roussillon, Centre National du Cinema et de L’Image Animee, Sofica Europacorp, Sofica Valor 7, Canal+, CineCinema, Alicéléo Cinéma. Screenplay by Claude Chabrol, Odile Barski. Cinematography by Eduardo Serra. Produced by Patrick Godeau. Music by Matthieu Chabrol. Production Design by Francoise Benoit-Fresco. Costume Design by Mic Cheminal. Film Editing by Monique Fardoulis.
The magnificent career of the great Claude Chabrol ends with this underwhelming feature that surprisingly pairs the director up with Gerard Depardieu for the first and only time.
Depardieu’s Bellamy is enjoying a quiet vacation in Nîmes with his patient wife (Marie Bunel) but trouble is never far behind and taking a break from his job as an inspector is not in his vocabulaire. A strange man prowling about their home turns out to be in search of the detective in order to confess to him that he has committed a murder: the man in the photo he shows him, however, that he claims is the victim, looks an awful lot like himself.
Delving into the conundrum sees our sanguine hero looking into the death of a homeless man, the mystery over a burned body found at the site of a terrible car accident and a convoluted tale of adulterous passion, while at home things get complicated when Bellamy’s alcoholic, resentful half-brother Jacques (Clovis Cornillac) shows up and disrupts their peaceful idyl.
The untangling of the professional whodunit runs alongside the pressure of the personal family issue with little in the way of reward for either at the end, the mystery ends in a flat climax (and a courtroom scene likely meant to satirize the justice system) and the brotherly drama cops out with a ridiculous finale.
It would be forgiven its familiar tropes if either the characters or plot turns were interesting, but Chabrol delivers a lifeless screenplay with co-writer Odile Barski, and a lot of the situations he puts these characters in barely rise above predictable dramatic tropes.