26 May 2008 | manuel-pestalozzi
This movie made me laugh
When I saw Yves Montand step outside his stately farm house in his gum boots I could not suppress a snort. From then on I was unable to take that character seriously (and that was pretty early into the movie). The whole set-up of the couple played by Montand and Catherine Deneuve seemed to me absolutely unrealistic and absurd. Horse breeding, buying the biggest mansion in Southern Ireland, while the (almost completely unrelated) story unfolds, come on! It is simply not possible to take that at face value as the movie apparently wants us to. If it was meant as an almost dreamlike fantasy, then it was a pretty corny one, if you ask me.
Montand's acting occasionally had an odd goofball quality which at times came in handy (his great performance in Wages of Fear comes to mind). Here the goofball aspect plainly shines through, but with him as an ex gangster who has become some kind of landed gentry it is anything but an asset to the quality of the movie. I was really amazed to learn that Montand made Police Python 357 with the same director. It is a much better movie and he is brilliant there.
So probably the script is the source of my dissatisfaction. The movie has lengths (a long, inconsequential sequence of a group of cars following another car, an elaborate smashing up of the living room of a fairly unimportant minor character). For Catherine Deneuve this must have been one of the most ungrateful roles in her distinguished career. She mainly drives up and down the access lane of the estate in a little Ford or sits in an anonymous hotel room waiting for her husband to call. Oh yes, there is some mare-trouble back at the farm, but that does not amount to much.
It's strange, the character played by Gérard Depardieu is very convincing as human bulldozer who occasionally has a heart. I feel that this character was somehow let down by the script. He is the only driving force of the whole plot, the surroundings seem to be either passive or undecided. So he becomes undecided himself (and that's poison for a movie that is based on action). No wonder the guy turned into a raving maniac, come to think of it.