An odd but tremendously potent mix of a 'quiet' non-violent but very
tense noir thriller, a deeply dark humored, sometimes blackly comic
look at human nature, and a political tale of moral hypocrisy in a
By the end I was riveted, moved and provoked.
I was even more impressed when I learned more about the history of the
film. Made while France was under occupation by the Nazis, the theme of
neighbor turning against neighbor takes on an even deeper and more
A film with no hero and many villains, it is challenging, well acted
and physically beautiful.
How sadly ironic that film-maker Clouzot was castigated after the war
for being a Nazi collaborator for making the film under the thumb of
the Nazis (who, of course, controlled the French film industry at the
time), when this is about as clearly an anti-collaborationist film as
one could imagine.
This is truly subversive cinema at its finest.