12 July 2005 | dbdumonteil
offbeat spy thriller
In France,Charles Gérard is known as an actor who's not particular about details.A cursory look at his filmography shows that his movies are mainly typically French comedies ,McDonald quality.
What about the director? Much to my surprise,the director shows qualities that are not obvious at all when he is acting."L'ennemi dans l'ombre" is an offbeat French thriller,which ,in spite of the paucity of the budget -the old record player ,which is used for the secret messages ,takes the biscuit!-,manages to convey a strange poetry ,with scenes which we do not generally find in the genre : the wedding,which seems (is it true?) dreamlike ;the flashback about the dead man ,which will gain in importance at the end ;a visit to a prisoner in jail,at night;a marchioness whose disposable funds are low and who helps "the organization".
The hero and his boss always refer to the villains as "the organization" ,and without the final unexpected twist,the story would have been as abstract as "parallax view" (the two movies are not in the same league though:Gérard is not Pakula).Roger Hanin plays the hero ,a hero with frames of mind and regrets (don't we learn he used to want to be a teacher).Female part is played by Estella Blain,a beautiful actress who committed suicide in 1982:she displays sensitivity and frailness.Bernard Blier plays a French "M".
We can draw a parallel between Gérard and Robert Hossein.Both were directors and actors,both made thrillers in the first years of their career .But Hossein easily outclasses his colleague,mainly as an actor.