Place Vendome

****1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Catherine Deneuve never looks less than elegant. Some might call her the Grace Kelly of France. Certainly her roles of late have not stretched her, until now. As the alcoholic wife of a Parisian jeweller, she takes off her make-up and is quite magnificent.

Nicole Garcia's film is a fascinating thriller, in which you are never sure whose side you are on, because the area between right and wrong is blurred. Marianne (Deneuve) used to be a dealer of considerable skill, until she discovered that her lover was cheating on her and so married the respectable Vincent Malivert (Bernard Fresson), gave up work and took to the bottle.

When Vincent commits suicide, she discovers a wallet with a handful of exquisite diamonds in his secret safe and decides to return to the cut-throat international jewel market. She is still dysfunctional, unsure who to trust, determined not to be treated as a louche widow who has lost her balance. The intrigue becomes paranoid as everyone appears dubious and her old lover (Jacques Dutronc) reappears, as enigmatic as ever, sniffing riches.

Deneuve has taken an enormous risk with this role, which has paid off a thousand fold. She is stunning and the film has a sophistication that leaves the audience in limbo, like Marianne, afraid of what may happen next.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Place Vendome packshot
The alcoholic wife of a jewellery dealer tries to set her life straight with the help of some diamonds after her hubbie tops himself.
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Director: Kelly Makin

Writer: Nicole Garcia, Jacques Fieschi

Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Bernard Fresson, Jacques Dutronc, Bernard Fresson, François Berléand, Dragan Nikolic

Year: 1998

Runtime: 117 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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