17 April 2014 | melvelvit-1
Convoluted Agatha Christie-style mystery
A group of bored, upper-crust malcontents who don't like each other much gather in a rococo mansion on a stormy night to await the arrival of a universally hated peer who says he knows a secret about one of them that's worth millions. He comes and gets offed during a revealing "game of truth" but that's no guarantee the secret's safe -and, of course, whodunit?
An Agatha Christie-style "drawing room murder mystery" (literally, there's only the one set) made more interesting than it has any right to be by avant-garde mise-en-scène created entirely by character placement and a jazzy score (courtesy of Hossein's dad, Andre) that provides dramatic punctuation. The cast (director Hossein, Jean Servais, Jean- Louis Trintignant for the men and Nadia Gray, Françoise Prévost, Daliah Lavi for the ladies, among others) is impressive and without them it'd be well nigh interminable but I still found it overly convoluted and a bit claustrophobic. It's very talky, too, but, reely, what else can it do? I much preferred the confined spaces of Luis Buñuel's later EXTERMINATING ANGEL and Julien Duvivier's earlier MARIE-OCTOBRE but my favorite is still WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? Milage will no doubt vary.