|Index||3 reviews in total|
Does it deserve such a low rating?Frankly,no.There were ,in the wake of
James Bond,so many dismal spy thrillers that you've got to be kind to
"peau d'espion".Anyway,it's not James Bond style:no gadgets,no high
budget.The plot might repel some,since it remains almost indecipherable
till the scene between Jourdan and Berger in the car at night.And it's
an hour before it shows up.But ,although implausible,-like 99% of the
spy thrillers anyway-the story makes sense and features good
actors:handsome Louis Jourdan,the French lover par excellence (he did a
lot of work in Hollywood) ,gorgeous sexy Senta Berger,veterans Bernard
Blier and Edmond O'Brien.Sometimes looks like a poor man's "torn
curtain" if you take China instead of USSR.It's a far cry from it,but
,once again ,it's passably entertaining stuff.
A rather unpleasant scene nevertheless:a very unfriendly look at long-haired boys ;and they said they were all hippies!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Although the first thing that comes to mind for many people when "French cinema" is mentioned are art-house films, the truth is that the French have made all sorts of movies for decades. But "Peau d'espion" (known on these shores as "To Commit a Murder") suggests why attempts by the French to be more commercial are mostly unknown over here. While it's supposed to be a thriller, it's anything but thrilling. Instead, it is talk talk talk for the most part, so much so that you have to wait almost 80% of the movie before the title activity takes place! Even the presence of talented and charismatic people like Louis Jourdan can't hide the fact that almost nothing of importance is happening through large chunks of the movie. Except for a couple of pretty cool fight sequences and a few bizarrely edited moments, the movie is a big bore. If you are determined to watch the movie despite my warnings, be warned that the print used by Sinister Cinema for its DVD edition puts at least one sequence out of order.
On paper, a Louis Jourdan - Senta Berger pairing in a spy thriller about a down-on-his-luck gambler / novelist who becomes a pawn in a plot concerning the defection of a French scientist to the Red China looks like an idea that can't miss. And yet it does miss, as "To Commit A Murder" is so dull during its first half that I was nearly tempted to shut it off midway through. Of course I never actually do that, and in the second half the story does start coming together, plus there is a pretty gritty knife fight as well. The dialogue sometimes aims for profundity and occasionally hits the target (I liked the conversation about how it was better being an artist during the Renaissance, but a scientist during the 20th century), Jourdan has his expected moments of sophistication and Berger is just flawlessly beautiful, but none of that can fully compensate for the feeling of purposelessness that the first half of the movie suffers from. Some pretty jarring cuts on my print, too. ** out of 4.
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