24 February 2013 | dbdumonteil
It's just a front.
Christian Stengel's fourth attempt at a thriller after "Seul Dans La Nuit" "Rome Express" and "Pas De Pitié Pour Les Femmes" ,"Minuit" takes Yves Mirande's "Derrière La Façade" pattern and tights it up:the screenplay is more satisfying and the movie does not look like a stream of stars ;actually only two members of the cast really stand out :Von Stroheim as an ominous prophet,asking all people to repent before God's wrath strikes them;and the stunning Madeleine Robinson,whose acting is so subtle and so brilliant she makes Irene an unusual character.Robinson is that kind of old wave French actress who,like Signoret,Arletty or Darrieux ,can carry a movie on her shoulders.Apart from them,there is also handsome Philippe Lemaire,the romantic male lead of the era,as a Latin teacher,and Francis Blanche ,who would become a very famous stand up comic ,as a libidinous grocer.
This is rather smart whodunit ,in the grand tradition of Agatha Christie:all people around had a reason to murder the concierge(building care-taker:the word "concierge" has grown slightly demeaning and is not really used anymore) and a captain investigates ,helped by a younger Miss Marple .
The director ,probably influenced by Duvivier's " Sous Le Ciel De Paris"(1950),begins his story with a voice over telling us that Paris is a world ,blah ,blah ,blah..."
Best moment:the captain is given a photograph and the viewer sees the reflection of the culprit on a mirror.