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Parisian murder detective commissioner Pierre Niemans is called to Gueron, a self-sufficient, prestigious university in a mountain valley, to investigate the murder on 32-year old professor and librarian Rémy Caillois, whose corpse was found 50 meters high on a steep mountain side, naked, horribly covered in bruises and bleeding wounds, the result of some five hours of bestial torture including quasi-surgical amputation of hands cauterized to prevent bleeding to death- and eyes. Guernon is a closed society of virtually incestuous scientists, de facto succeeding to their parents' posts; the eye-doctor, formerly on the staff, says hereditary genetic diseases are the price of such elitism, but in recent years spread to the simple farming families. Inspector Max Kerkerian examines two crimes in the town: a school break-in with theft of old photos and archive papers as well as a graveyard desecration of Judith Herault, the daughter of local nun Andrée, who lives in a dark cell since 15 ... Written by
Composed and Performed by David Salsedo, Stéphane Daurs (as Stephane Daurs)
[Performed by] Silmarils
(c) 2000 Editions Musicales Editions La Marguerite - Legende Enterprises
(p) 2000 Production Legende Enterprises - Gaumont See more »
Stunning thriller, good story and characters, marred by badly thought-out finale
Echoes of "The Boys From Brazil" and "Name of the Rose" in this fast-moving, gorgeously-set (small alpine towns near Grenoble) French thriller, which has a really nasty conspiracy in a closed community as an underlying subplot. Two interleaved storylines involve two detectives in towns 100 km apart. Young, feisty Kerkerian (Cassel) is investigating the desecration of the tomb of a young girl. Meanwhile, supersleuth Niemans (Reno) is drafted in from Paris to assist local gendarmes in solving a nasty torture-murder of an academic at a small private University. More bodies turn up, suspects become victims, and eventually the paths of the two cops cross. Visually utterly beautiful, particularly the College, the Library, and the glacier/ice tunnel scenes. Characters strongly drawn and sympathetic. One pretty straight fight scene, little dwelling on active perpetration of violence, but much lingering on the unpleasantly gory aftermath. This is particularly the case with the rather gratuitous opening sequence, which is overdone relative to the rest of the film. My main cavil involves the poor ending, where a last-minute surprise twist creates more loose ends than it ties up. Nevertheless, so watchable that this one gets 9/10.
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