The Colour Of Lies

The Colour Of Lies


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Claude Chabrol's formula remains intact. And unchanging.

The setting is a small town in the provinces, in this case a fishing village on the Breton coast. The cast is middle-class, intelligent, often with artistic pretensions. A murder is rumoured, or actually happens, and gossip starts to fly, implicating the leading players.

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The audience knows nothing and the pace is slow. The name of the killer matters less than the enfolding relationships. Does the wife suspect her husband? Will the husband forgive the wife for what she may, or may not, have done? Nuance and subtlety have preference over blood and thunder.

Rene (Jacques Gamblin) is married to Vivienne (Sandrine Bonnaire). He's an artist who hasn't had an exhibition for 12 years. She has reached that stage in life where she questions the validity of her usefulness, wondering whether the man with whom she shares her cottage is the same as the man she fell in love with. He is too self-absorbed to notice.

When a 10-year-old girl is found strangled and sexually molested in the woods, he is prime suspect. The girl was his pupil and he was the last to see her alive. The drama changes things. Rene rediscovers his talent for portraiture. Vivienne is flattered by the attention of a TV presenter and writer (Antoine de Caunes), who has recently moved into the area. There is another death. Vivienne re-examines her loyalties. The police chief (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) from St Malo takes a softly softly catchee monkey approach.

Bonnaire carries suffering like the lingering memory of past betrayal. She is adept at waiting for pain. Vivienne stands by her man and, at the same time, invites sympathy. She may be trapped in a marriage and caught in the web, but instinctively knows, as a child who is lied to, that truth will free her.

Ultimately, these people have to mean something, their fears and doubts must register on a deeper consciousness. They don't. Not enough.

Reviewed on: 11 Jul 2001
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A young girl is murdered in Breton fishing village after leaving the house of depressive artist.

Director: Claude Chabrol

Writer: Odile Baroki, Claude Chabrol

Starring: Sandrine Bonnaire, Jacques Gamblin, Antoines de Caunes, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Bernard Verley

Year: 1998

Runtime: 113 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: France


French 2011

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