LE PACTE DU SILENCE (a/k/a THE PACT OF SILENCE, 2003, 90 minutes, French, music by Alexandre Desplat) is pretty good thriller-filler material in the spirit of Hitchcock's I Confess and Vertigo. It is an obvious homage to these and other films. Depardieu, accomplishing this powerhouse performance just a few years after he did My Father the Hero and a few years prior to his turn as Inspector Bellamy (vid. my reviews for both)
Father Joachim (a still-thin and healthy-looking Gerard Depardieu) becomes obsessed with his medical patient, Sister Sarah the Carmelite (Elodie Bouchez). See, Fr. Joachim is also a physician. There is just something about her, and the audience quickly finds out what it is: she has a twin sister, Gaelle (also Bouchez) who is doing time for murder.
In a somewhat confusing and sometimes silly labyrinth of mystery, Fr. Joachim pursues the truth and Sr. Sarah to the point of excommunication - but we soon find he's not the only one in this story who deserves to be excommunicated. The rest ... I cannot spoil this no matter how old it is. It is a fun popcorn film, as I said, with that relaxed, infuriating European pace that says 'I-do-not-really-care-what-you-think-of-my-movie'.
Somehow, PACTE manages to steal from/pay homage to films as diverse as The Corsican Brothers, Agnes of God, foreshadows The Prestige and even borrows from the TV series Don Matteo (see my reviews for these latter two). Its homage to VERTIGO and its foreshadowing of THE PRESTIGE are especially riveting because it is all handled well. It is also, I think, the last film in which Depardieu looks healthy and not fat.
I might add there is a sort of a treat (it was for me anyway) in the character of the journalist Morel (Isaac Sharry): he is a handsome, dark Middle Easterner with one amber eye and one jade green eye. This condition, called heterochromia iridum, involves two different eye colors. I love this topic because I have partial heterochromia: the inner ring of my dual colors is amber, the outer ring is violet. Sharry has the condition in its 'total' form and I have never seen another actor with it.
Many people erroneously believe David Bowie has this condition. He does not - an injury left him blind in one eye and that pupil is permanently dilated, but both his eyes are decidedly blue. So now that I have had my own personal 'geek-out', I can honestly recommend this silly-thrilly flick, even if it's just to impress your sweetie with your knowledge of French and French Catholiques.