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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 December 2006
Although Betty (Isabelle Huppert, who was 43-years-old when the film was released) calls Victor (Michel Serrault, who was 69) "Papa" on occasion in this smooth and restrained thriller from Claude Chabrol, he is not her father by any means. The term is merely one of ironic affection. What they are are modern "gypsies" living on the fringes of society plying their ancient trade. Perhaps they were lovers in the past. Clearly they are a team, dependent upon one another. In particular what these small time con artists do is go to conventions, medical, dental, farm equipment salesman conventions, find a target and con the poor dupe out of some of his money.

Some. The film begins at a roulette table on the French Riviera with Betty stringing along a not entirely bright lawnmower salesman whom she invites for a drink. She slips some knockout drops into his drink and quickly invites him up to his room where, after he is out cold, Victor follows. They take some of his money. Victor insists on always playing it safe and using a rather strange but plausible psychology (which will figure later in the movie) of making the man think that perhaps he wasn't robbed, since if she had intended to rob him, would she have only taken part of the money out of his wallet? They do forge his signature on a check, but he will only find out about that later, and indeed might not be sure about how that happened.

So this is a small time con. Trouble begins for our vagabond thieves when Betty meets the CFO of a big corporation who is transferring five million Swiss francs in cash out of the country. She senses the chance for a big score, and after the mark falls in love with her (she thinks) she brings Victor into the scheme. With some tricky exchanges of the metal suitcase containing the money Betty and Victor end up over their heads in some very hot water.

The plot is a little on the unlikely side, as thriller plots tend to be, but the thing to keep in mind is the idea of taking only PART of the money. This is what fools the bad bad guys (as opposed to the good bad guys who are our vagabond duo, Betty and Victor).

Any movie starring the incomparable Isabelle Huppert (La Pianiste 2001; Merci pour le chocolat 2000; La dentelliere 1977, and many more ) is worth seeing and any movie directed by Claude Chabrol (Une affair de femmes 1988; Betty 1992; La ceremonie 1995, etc.) will have something of interest in it. Add a fine performance by Serrault, one of the great veterans of the French cinema, and "Rien ne va plus" is definitely worth seeing. However the role played by Huppert does not challenge her and Chabrol's more famous films (some of them also starring Huppert) are decidedly more interesting.

But see this for the lighthearted chemistry between Huppert who is sublimely fetching and Serrault who is clearly past the age of any pretension. Such a quasi-Platonic union based on the love that still warms the embers in a dying fire has become almost a staple of directors past their prime. See Claude Sautet's Nelly and Monsieur Arnaud (1995) which also featured Serrault for another example.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 12 December 2012
Otherwise known as `The Swindle', this is a French film from 1997 and stars Isabelle Huppert (`La Ceromonie' and `I Heart the Huckabees') as a small time con artist called Betty, but she uses loads of aliases. She `works' with her papa one Victor, and between them they hustle, drug and rob convention attendees like dentists or lawn mower sellers.

Then they are set for another job in Switzerland but Betty has sort of got a gig going herself and is going to work on long term acquaintance, Maurice for some five million Swiss Francs. But as relationships start to unravel it is hard to figure who is actually gaming who and so the plot and the intrigue take on a lot more of a sinister hue.

Well that is the synopsis and is it any good? Well it is above ok but far from the high end of French cinema. The problem I think is its pace it only ever ambles along and in places, despite the on screen antics, it starts to slow down. This is a crime caper and I felt it should have had more immediacy, but it still has more than enough moments to prevent you from getting bored. The acting is all fine and the settings are great with nice attention to detail when it is needed. It really is more of a gentle comedy, but not a laugh out loud type.

In French with good sub titles, and a run time of 101 minutes. Directed by French, icon Claude Chabrel ,who was also behind the aforementioned and rather good, `La Ceremonie'. So if you like a bit of Gallic humour with a reasoned pace and semi intriguing, plot you should enjoy.
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on 16 September 2001
This rather low key Claude Chabrol thriller which he wrote and directed, and which was the inspiration for the John Flynn 1983 Scam, is more a chuckler than a spine tingler. Isabelle Huppert and Michel Serrault have great chemistry as a father and daughter team of con artists who choose their victims from hotel conventions. The film begins with Huppert seducing a lawnmower salesman and Serrault observing, so that at first we think he is spying on Huppert because he is a hotel detective and on to her. Huppert doesn't even try to hide her duplicity by wearing a terrible and obvious black wig. Serrault is established as the mastermind of their operation, but Huppert upstages him at their next venue, a dentist's convention in St Moritz, when she appears with Francois Cluzet who has a suitcase of stolen money. Chabrol then toys with us with the allegiances of the three, and it's never clear who is trying to con who, until we reach the West Indies and things turn deadly serious. Chabrol underlines the menace of the climactic confrontation by having Tosca playing as Huppert discovers a dead body, and gives the floor of a gangster's house a checkerboard pattern. Huppert's second change of hairstyle may be inexplicable but it is definitely disappointing considering how beautiful she looks with long strawberry blonde hair and wearing dark glasses a la Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity. Chabrol also uses a white colour scheme, from Serrault's hair to the snow in St Moritz, the voluminous dress a dancer wears, and the colour of the family van, and the song Changez Tout at the end became quite popular.
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on 2 January 2008
Rien Ne Va Plus is a witty and cheerfully amoral comedy about the adventures of itinerant con artists. The `caper' plot is expertly written and realised. The two leads are totally beguiling; I did get the impression however that a lot of the subtle humour of the dialogue is lost to a viewer who is not French/bilingual. Chabrol sidesteps all the potential clichés: mythologising or politicising the criminals, showing that crime doesn't pay through some clunky change of tone, sentimental confessional moments between the `buddies' etc etc. The relationship between the con artists is never explicitly defined: they are teacher and protégé, surrogate (or real?) father and daughter, equals and rivals, platonic lovers. Even the rare moments of violence become the pretext for a joke. Noone acts as we've come to expect characters to act in these sorts of films. It is a subtle coup for Chabrol to portray unsentimentally the existences of two individuals who earn a living by crime while maintaining an almost perverse lightness of tone.
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Rien Ne Va Plus/The Swindle is another minor late Chabrol effort that spends too long treading water and which lacks the lightness of touch to really pull off the caper movie it wants to be. The first hour is flat, with Isabelle Huppert unconvincing as a conwoman you couldn't imagine fooling a deaf, dumb and blind man while Michel Serrault has little to work with as her partner in crime. But once the twists kick in in the last 40 minutes, it does pick up even if it never surprises, and at least the scenery is nice.
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on 3 January 2015
Loved this movie. Merci beaucoup!
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