27 May 2002 | nicholas.rhodes
Under the Vichy régime in France , a would-be resistance member tries to pass off as a supporter of the authorities in order to be able to leave the country ostensibly for North Africa but in reality with the ultimate aim of thence joining de Gaulle in London.
There is one word for this film :- `Spine-chilling' ! Although there is no one particular horror or violent scene that stands up and above the rest, this film is very frightening and EXTREMELY nerve-wracking in the way that it distills, continuously and for the whole of its duration, a heavy, threatening and sombre atmosphere. Although it is in colour, there are no gay tones, everything is dark blue, grey or black, and a dark shadowy atmosphere pervades througout. Outdoor scenes are always shot under a grey and heavily laden sky. Most memorable is a passage shot in a park with a bandstand in its' centre. Sinister-looking characters in dark hats and raincoats hang around in corridors, streets and parks, in fact wherever our poor hero tries to go ! All the character parts of those in authority are quite simply sinister ! At no stage is there any real, ray of hope. Despite `reassuring' words from each of these functionaries each time Bridet tries to obtain an exit permit , one knows and feels that the reality is quite different and that there is not chance in hell for the poor Joseph Bridet (played by a young André Dussolier) of making it out of the country. I have never before seen a film where the atmosphere and surroundings are so intrinsically foreboding. There is little or no physical violence, no blood, but I guarantee you from beginning to end, the whole thing sends shivers up your spine ! I don't think the film is known internationally as it was originally made for French TV but if ever it turns up, presumably under another title such as `The Trap' ( a literal translation of its French Title) don't miss it ! One of the most sinister characters is that played by Pierre Dux, a great French actor now long dead ! Other films such as ` L'Armée des Ombres' (Army of the Shadows a very good film in its own right) have dealt with the theme of the resistance movement but none of theme secrete the same foreboding atmosphere as `Le Piège' .I would be very curious to know whether the reality of the Vichy régime was really as bad this