Here Chabrol inaugurates a new genre, the theological thriller. Charles (Perkins at his most charismatically unstable) wakes from a dream of Creation to find himself with blood on his hands. He turns for help to his erstwhile professor of philosophy (Piccoli), and persuades him back to the Van Horn country estate to use his 'Logic of Science' in sorting out the family mess. The estate is a 1925 dream engineered by Charles' adoptive father Theo Van Horn (Welles), who is worshipped by his child-bride (Jobert), and sculpted as Jupiter by the awed Charles. Chabrol's movies, echoing Fritz Lang's, have long been edging towards a confrontation with the theme of Fate. This is it. Theo Van Horn chooses to play God, creating his own world, dictating the behaviour of those he places in it, taking care to add flaws to his creation to keep it breathing. But God hasn't reckoned with his own capacity for imperfection, for such shining qualities as jealousy, hatred, revenge; so he comes to his own grief, faced with the lonely fact that his creation is a nine-day wonder... Chabrol's movies grow less and less like anyone else's; this is one worth seeing again and again.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Claude Chabrol, Paul Gégauff|