Monday, March 17, 2014

265 of 1001 Movies: Diabolique (1955)

Diabolique is a 1955 mystery movie that is French, and while it isn't horror it does have some terrifying scenes, and a very well written plot. I will admit that these days the plot seems predictable though. I already knew the ending way before the last hour was even arriving. The movie doesn't lose it's entertaining value though. The acting is good and some parts do have a terrifying look to them that you can't help but watch. I wouldn't watch it in the dark again for sure.

Summary: Christina is the wife of a mean headmaster, Michel. With the help of his mistress, Nicole, they devise a plan to kill him. After they murder him, and dump his body into a pool he mysteriously disappears, and leaves the both worried about where his body will turn up. When his body is instead being seen around the campus they teach at they both worry that perhaps they were wrong in the assumption they killed him.

Acting: The acting is very intense from the leads. Without them you wouldn't feel have the suspense and fears that you do while watching this movie. Simone Signoret plays Nicole, the mistress. I think she does a great job at keeping it cool, but also showing some fear, while Christina, portrayed by Vera Clouzot, is the more fearful and bewildered of the two. Clouzot would probably be like most people in that situation. Paul Meurisse plays the husband, Michel, and honestly I don't get if I'm supposed to feel for the guy or not, because I don't really like him, and with the way he treats Christina you can see why she is so desperate to escape.

Filming: I've gotten a lot more into black and white films lately. I'm not 100% why, but many of the ones on the list are just well shot. This movie is a lot slower, but I feel certain scenes build up the intense great. The director uses all the shadows available to put them in the dark, or give us eerie images that are hard to forget after you've watched the movie.

Plot: The plot was thankfully very simple. The gist is easy to pick up on, and it's so simple it's easy to see what's happening even before the lead character figures it out. This might be a downside for those who are really wanting a mystery though, because it's so easy to piece together that you will know what is going on, and will be surprised you didn't sooner depending on how late you figure it out. The characters also lack any development. I felt someone was going for very 1940's Hitchcock, and that was what you have here. Regardless, the movie is well pieced together even if it seems obvious.

If you're looking for a good thriller than this is it. I think it runs a little slow with such a long running length of almost two hours, but otherwise I can see why it's a classic. Plus, it's a rare foreign movie take on the genre that usually sticks with very philosophical driven ideas. With more of a story I found myself more immersed in what was happening.

Rating 7.5 of 10.

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