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The Serpent  [DVD]
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Sinuous, twisty French thriller. Opportunistic thug Plender (Clovis Cornillac) has a near-failsafe way of making money - identify a rich married man, send in a beautiful woman, take photos and demand payment. But when Plender meets up with an old schoolmate, fashion photographer Vincent (Yvan Attal), the scale of his operation suddenly expands, as does the extent of the damage done. The two men have a history, and Plender feels his old friend owes him a considerable debt.
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Top Customer Reviews
The plot follows that of many other films, with the underlying theme of blackmail intertwined with the complications of divorce, sex, revenge, child abuse and more.
Much has already be made of the comparisons with `Get Carter', written by the same author as The Serpent, and the merits of the (few) actors there are in this film, but for me it was a perfect late night thriller, sometimes predictable, but always enjoyable, and at times genuinely sinister and disturbing.
Don't analyse it too much, just enjoy it.
The settings are reminiscent of 36 Quai des orfervres and the exposure to the French judicial system is also similar, I read now that it is from the same writer as "get carter" - which is interesting as the unremitting story of revenge in there, but this is no simple French remake of the Caine classic.
I must recommend this title as there is every risk that, like 36 Quai des orfervres that it will be siezed by an American studio and remade, losing much of the subtelty that is so well done by the French.
Yvan Attal is Vincent, a photographer going through a messy and very hostile custody battle with his rich wife, aggravated by their sharing the same house, who gets set up in what initially appears to be a honeytrap involving a model. When an ill-advised second meeting with her (not the only unlikely plot development dependent on the character's stupidity by any means) ends up very messily, he finds old school friend, private investigator and blackmailer Joseph Plender literally crashing back into his life, disposing of the evidence and worming his way into Vincent's wife's confidence and setting about destroying his life. But it's not money he's after. He doesn't even want what Vincent has - he just wants Vincent to have everything taken away from him...
There are a few bumps - for the sake of moving the plot along quickly it's absurdly easy to find out certain pieces of information about characters, while an early photo-session scene doesn't convince - but for the most part this is a satisfying late-night thriller, largely due to a very convincingly malignant Clovis Cornillac as Plender. While at times it's possible to recognise the schoolboy that Vincent barely tolerated in him, there's a focussed and highly efficient rage behind his blank face and hooded eyes.Read more ›
It isn’t a film that I will be visiting again since once one knows the plot there will be no more surprises, but I would say the acting is good as is the directing as well as the sound and cinematography.
The DVD comes with some extra features: Making Of The Serpent; Interview With Director Eric Barbier; Interview With Producer Eric Jehelmann; Interview With Olga Kurylenko; Theatrical Trailer.
I would recommend this film to anyone who can pick up a cheap copy.
Thankfully, The Serpent is simply subtitled and not dubbed (if there one thing I hate about foreign films, its poorly dubbed productions with no concept of audio/visual sync.) The plot has actually been done really well, and has obviously carefully been thought-out. There are a few nail biting moments throughout especially as the pace intensifies further in the film. This is the sort of film that's guaranteed to get your attention and keep you entertained. The atmosphere and tone created are nothing less than perfect, giving you a real impression of danger and the hate portrayed from one of the characters.
There are also some good special features included that add to the entertainment factor. The Serpent offers everything you could possibly want from a film of this genre.
Unfortunately there are a few problems with The Serpent that robbed it off a five star award, several elements of the plot seem rather unlikely and unbelievable. The beginning of the film is quite slow, which will put some people off, and personally I feel that the acting from Yyvan Attal (who plays the main character Vincent) leaves a lot to be desired. And with most thrillers, the ending (however good) is rather predicable.
But despite a few small failings, The Serpent is still a note worthy film, compelling enough for me to recommend it to you as I doubt it will disappoint.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an okay film. It is great for killing a Saturday night around a few beers but I wouldn't watch it again.Published 23 months ago by Ian
This is a very good item and its great value for the money and I would recommend this item to everyonePublished on 21 Nov. 2013 by hilda greenall
very good film. Any film with Olga Kurylenko in it is good. Good storyline with good back up actors too. Good thrillerPublished on 22 Aug. 2013 by james braidwood
Tense from the start. Wonderful gripping film. You soon forget you are reading subtitles. Powerful, grabs you and absorbs you!Published on 22 April 2013 by D. Miles