An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
Time Out saysToss a girl down a disused well, and watch her struggle to get out: a scene which deserves a corner in cinema history. Based on the novel by PD James, this is a stinging film noir played out in the long, russet shadows of an English summer: the story of a young woman (Guard) who, after the quiet suicide of her partner, takes control of the private detective agency he has bequeathed to her, and is asked (by Whitelaw) to investigate another suicide - the son of a prominent businessman - found hanged in a rented cottage. The plot is spare, bitter, and buried in the past. All the more credit to director and co-writer Petit (in his second film) for not resorting to the easy recourse of flashback; it's a restraint that contributes to the film's special, uneasy quality of the here-and-now.