4 March 2017 | richardchatten
Easy-Going Vichy Era Potboiler
I saw this film when it was shown on BBC2 in 1989, but had absolutely no memory of it, so watched it again today. It's a good-looking, agreeable potboiler, set in a fictitious Latin American country in order to avoid controversy (obviously gangsters couldn't operate at large in law-abiding Vichyite France the way they openly do here).
Closer to a comedy thriller than a straight crime film, and brightly lit for adventure rather than drama by cameraman Nicolas Hayer, 'Dernier Atout' stars Raymond Rouleau as a jaunty crack-shot detective who takes the place of American gangster Gaston Modot in a gang led by dastardly Pierre Renoir. Although sloe-eyed, immaculately coiffed pre-war temptress Mireille Balin slinks through the narrative, her rather puzzling absence from the film's concluding scene is symptomatic of the film's rather casual attitude towards its characters.