One of Costa-Gavras' glossy political melodramas, set in Occupied France and dealing with one of the Vichy government's shabbier episodes: the drafting of retroactive anti-terrorist laws which allowed the French judiciary to re-sentence a number of pathetically harmless prisoners in order to appease the Germans. At first the glossy production provides a rather effective counterpoint to the political intrigue. But issues here become clear-cut - over-simplified, even - and the visual elegance looks increasingly hollow. The script becomes bogged down in wordy repetitions on the corruption of power and the power of corruption. The final third - the show trials - is pure playing to the gallery, in much the same way as Z. By way of compensation, some of the performances - Louis Seigner, especially, as the Minister of Justice - stand against the film's tendency towards caricature.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Costa-Gavras, Jorge Semprun|