The Last Diamond

****

Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

Barbier on Bejo: 'I think she wanted a change of register and to do a film that would be fun - and built around a gems theft'
"Both Bejo and Attal offer strong charismatic performances which hold your attention even if sometimes you have to suspend your disbelief."

You cannot ask much more from a heist thriller than that it sustains its pace, springs liberal surprises, looks elegantly effortless, and knows exactly how to manipulate the plot mechanics.

Eric Barbier’s The Last Diamond manages to score on most counts in a tale of a professional safecracker out of jail on parole (played by Yvan Attal) partnered by Jean-François Stevenin as his cohort in crime who have been tasked with stealing the legendary Florentine diamond valued at around 55 million dollars.

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Enter Bérénice Bejo as Julia, there to complicate matters as the woman who has been put in charge of auctioning off the gem following her mother’s suspicious death. Attal makes a good pretence of falling romantically for Bejo but obviously has ulterior motives. Or does he?

When she realises she may have been duped, the narrative ups the ante, displaying along the way shades of such classics as The Thomas Crown Affair, sprinkled with double-crosses and duplicitous manipulations.

Shot in France, Belgium and Luxembourg it looks suitably glossy with the director’s son Renaud Barbier composing the jazz-based score which provides an added element of retro-sophistication.

Both Bejo and Attal offer strong charismatic performances which hold your attention even if sometimes you have to suspend your disbelief.

It may observe the classic conventions of the genre in which the French have a justifiable reputation. There may not be too much in the way of innovation but it is entertaining and gripping and gives good value for most of its 109 minutes. And you cannot say fairer than that.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2016
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The Last Diamond packshot
A thief on parole agrees to one last job.
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Director: Eric Barbier

Writer: Eric Barbier, Marie Eynard, Trân-Minh Nam

Starring: Yvan Attal, Bérénice Bejo, Jean-François Stévenin, Antoine Basler, Jacques Spiesser, Annie Cordy, Michel Israel, Charlie Dupont, Danièle Denie, Gene Bervoets, Daniel Hanssens, Cecilia Guichart, Isaka Sawadogo, Bernard Sens, Olivier Bony

Year: 2014

Runtime: 108 minutes

Country: France, Luxembourg, Belgium

Festivals:

French 2015

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