Review: Inspector Bellamy DVD

STUDIO: IFC | DIRECTOR: Claude Chabrol | CAST: Gérard Depardieu, Jacques Gamblin, Marie Bunel, Clovis Cornillac,Vahina Giocante.
RELEASE DATE: 1/25/11 | PRICE: DVD $24.98
SPECS: NR | 110 min. | Foreign language crime drama | 1.85:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 | English and French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

IFC presents Inspector Bellamy, the final mystery from the late, great Claude Chabrol (La Demoiselle d’ Honneur), the auteur who’s generally considered to be the filmmaker who started the French New Wave movement and whose career spanned six decades and some 60 films. This final film also marks Chabrol’s only collaboration with one of France’s great movie stars, Gérard Depardieu (Hamlet).

Inspector Bellamy movie scene

Gerard Depardieu is comforted by wife Marie Bunel in Inspector Bellamy.

Inspector Bellamy (Depardieu) has retreated with his wife (Marie Bunel, A Girl Cut in Two) to a small town for a holiday. Though he is on holiday, a furtive stranger (Gamblin, Carnage) draws him into investigating a murder/insurance scam. When Bellamy’s ex-con brother (Clovis Cornillac, A Very Long Engagement ) reappears, long dormant resentments erupt. As the inspector plays confessor (good cop?) with the stranger, he gains insight into his own relationships.

Unlike fellow mystery and suspense auteurs Jean-Pierre Melville (Le Samurai) and Jacques Becker (Le Trou), Chabrol generally eschews the nourish back alleys of Paris, instead finding sinister undercurrents in picturesque provinces outside of the city. That’s never been more apparent and effective as it is in Inspector Bellamy

Depardieu retains his roguish charm and (even if he’s mellowed) capacity for violence in Inspector Bellamy. He also still appreciates a fine derrieire (remember, Depardieu scored an early success sodomizing his best friend in 1974’s Going Places). Cinematographer Eduardo Serra films his star discreetly, but can’t always conceal his avoirdupois.

The rest of the cast is excellent, especially Cornillac as a man barely treading water and Gamblin in a multi-character turn.

Chabrol mysteries are never linear whodunits—they are character-driven and richly atmospheric In the opening shot of Inspector Bellamy, the camera pans across an old cemetery peacefully overlooking the sea and then reveals…charred human remains. For Chabrol, the ultimate mystery is the human heart and that mystery can never be solved. A firm moral center anchors his compassion for human failing.

Most importantly, a Chabrol film is always an intelligent, well-measured ride. Thanks for those rides, CC.


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About David

David Leopold is an actor, writer and videographer who would take a Sherpa ride up a Tibetan mountain to see an Edwige Feuillère movie.