27 March 2019 | TheLittleSongbird
They Do It With Mirrors
Am a big fan of Agatha Christie, and have considered her one of my favourite authors for goodness knows how long. Have never expected when her work is adapted for any adaptation to be one hundred percent faithful, as long as the characters are interesting, any changes are logical or necessary and the story is coherent, compelling and at least shows some respect. Am always up for something different, and 'Les Petits Meurtres D'Agatha Christie' is that, while using her work as a basic framework and putting a comic twist blended with the mysteries it doesn't disgrace her.
Will say though that some episodes are better than others and some aspects have not always worked. "Jeux De Glaces" signals the first episode featuring new detectives Swan Laurence and Alice Avril after saying goodbye to Larossiere and Lampion in the adaptation of 'Lord Edgware Dies' "Le Coteau Sur La Nuqe". Have always wished that there were more Larossiere and Lampion episodes, as most of their episodes were good to great with only three episodes disappointing. 'Les Petits Meurtres D'Agatha Christie' had more Laurence and Avril episodes (24 episodes to their 11 and one pilot), but for me Larossiere and Lampion were the stronger partnership and gelled and settled much better at the start.
"Jeux De Glaces" is, as has been said already, is the fourth adaptation of 'They Do It With Mirrors'. Following the just okay Helen Hayes version, the Joan Hickson adaptation which to me was the weakest of her adaptations and the ITV Marple adaptation which was somewhere in the high middle. To be honest, 'They Do It With Mirrors' is not one of my favourites from Christie and for me is the weakest Miss Marple book, find the others to be better paced, have more interesting characters and have more surprising and more believable final solutions (it is clever here but didn't leave me floored, not like particularly 'A Murder is Announced' did). "Jeux De Glaces", again from person opinion, is my least favourite adaptation of this particular story and among the lesser episodes of 'Les Petits Meurtres D'Agatha Christie'.
There is not much to add really to what has already been said. There are good things about "Jeux De Glaces". It looks lovely as ever, the period detail and scenery are lavish but a great job is also done evoking a sinister enough atmosphere when necessary. The vibrant but never over-saturated or garish colours, that could be quite atmospheric, and stylish photography complement beautifully. The music matches the light-hearted and at times very atmospheric tone very well.
Some of the writing is thought-provoking and enjoyable, and the relative closeness to the original storytelling is admirable, feeling neither over-convoluted or dumbed down. Blandine Bellavoir is a breath of fresh air as Alice, and brings a lot of charm, elegance and spirit that was much needed. The supporting cast do more than capably, even if nobody stands out as such.
Do have to agree though that Laurence is nowhere near as interesting and is very obnoxious. Samuel Labarthe seemed ill at ease as the character. The two do not gel here and lack the sparkle of the pairing of Larossiere and Lampion, with the characters such polar opposites that the personalities don't go together or feel harmonious. Other parts of the writing felt overdone and stale. While some of the pacing is fine, too much of it is dull.
Largely down to a lack of suspense and playing it too safe, not doing enough to bring more energy or freshness. The denouement is a clever one but is ruined by a twist that comes out of nowhere, felt thrown in and like an afterthought, one that didn't really ring true as well.
In conclusion, watchable but a disappointment. 5/10