No laughs – but still plenty to like in this diverting and insightful thriller that plays out in the higher echelons of the French judiciary and Parisian world of high business. Chabrol regular, Isabelle Huppert is Jeanne Charmant, a judge with a mission to uncover corporate misdoings, whatever the effect on her personal and professional life. Chabrol takes inspiration from the 1990s Elf Aquitaine scandal, the investigation of which was presided over by a female judge, but he is not so much concerned with the details of fraud and its revelation as with the sly politics of the legal and financial worlds and, most sinisterly, how both – vain and macho – worlds collude in their own self-preservation. Charmant’s initial sparrings with harried, accused exec Humeau (François Berléand) offer some of the film’s strongest episodes, as does Chabrol’s portrayal of her uneasy home-life with depressed husband Philippe (Robin Renucci). This is no masterpiece, but it’s a big improvement on Chabrol’s last, ‘La demoiselle d’honneur’. Huppert is fascinating to watch, as ever.
A Comedy of Power
|Release date:||Friday December 14 2007|
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Claude Chabrol, Odile Barski|