17 April 2019 | TheLittleSongbird
Find 'Les Petits Meurtres D'Agatha Christie' to be an interesting twist on the work of my favourite author. The episodes are not one hundred percent faithful, but that's not what the series is about, instead they use her books as a basic framework with faithful and recognisable elements and put their own twist. Not all the episodes are great, but a good deal are very entertaining and well done and the series was always well made.
"Temoin Muet" is fairly loosely adapted from 'Dumb Witness', not one of my favourites from Christie but even when Christie was not at her very best she was always well worth the read. The book has been adapted before, as part of the Poirot series with David Suchet. That for me is far better, even if again it was not one of the best episodes of that particular series, with the further benefit of having a scene (and episode) stealing dog. This is not saying that "Temoin Muet" is something to avoid, actually in my eyes it's still worth watching. Just that the earlier adaptation did the story better comparatively.
It's the third episode with the new duo of Laurence and Avril. At this particular point of 'Les Petits Meurtres D'Agatha Christie', despite having more episodes, they haven't gelled yet. The earlier pairing Larosiere and Lampion settled far quicker, gelled much better as a partnership and were on the most part more interesting characters. Yet they were in less episodes, all ranging from watchable to great with only two veering towards average. Together, Laurence and Avril here aren't in harmony together, if using an analogy it's like having an appetising looking meal but finding that two flavours clash together and one doesn't taste well on its own. The character of Laurence is every bit as big a problem and the reason for the chemistry not gelling, he comes over as obnoxious and with little personality and Samuel Labarthe plays him stiffly.
Also felt the story could have been executed stronger. Everything is there and correct, the characters and events diverting enough and any twists and surprises executed without being too predictable. Part of me wanted more suspense though and felt that the episode could have taken more risks and not played it too safe, that way momentum would have been more consistent. At some points, the writing was a little stale and could have been sharper.
Having said all of this, there is a lot to recommend about "Temoin Muet" as with all episodes of 'Les Petits Meurtres D'Agatha Christie'. Cannot fault the handsome and evocative period detail, that has beauty and atmosphere without being drab or gaudy. It's all beautifully and stylishly shot. The music matches the light-hearted and at times very atmospheric tone very well. Much of the writing is fun and thought-provoking.
Regarding the story, it's not perfect but that it's easy to follow and keeps one on their toes enough without trying to do too much. Yet it's not too simple though personally would not have minded more complexity. The supporting cast do more than ably while the dog is very cute, if not as scene or episode stealing as Bob in the David Suchet adaptation. What is especially good about "Temoin Muet" is Blandine Bellavoir, she shone in the previous two episodes with me describing her as a breath of fresh air and she is the same here. Elegant, spirited and charming, much needed qualities and Bellavoir and the character of Alice personify them.
Summarising, decent but not great. 6/10