When you're a con artist, how can you really trust your lifepartner if they're also your professional partner - a trickster, like you? And at what point does a small-time scam become dangerously big-time? When is the game no longer a game? How, in fact, after years of living a lie, can you tell what's real any more? These are the questions raised by Chabrol's eccentrically clever concoction, situated in that treacherous territory between sly comedy and something rather nastier. Betty (Huppert) and Victor (Serrault) have been happily conning convention guests for years, until she sets her cap at Maurice (Cluzet) - is she simply out to swindle him, really attracted, or out to make Victor jealous? And is Maurice as innocent as he seems? Chabrol's movie is mostly a slight, elegant jape, enjoyable but undemanding save in the way it asks us to keep pace with the Mamet-style twists. It's all very playful, with an ironic, irreverent take on national stereotypes, and motives kept admirably ambiguous. Then, along comes a killer twist and a climax of authentically operatic cruelty, as baroque, brilliantly unsettling and casually brutal as almost anything he's done; proof that after 50 movies the old magic's still there.
Cast and crew