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Time Out says

Paris, the 1830s. In ghoulish, chain-filled underground chambers, former Chief of Police, now detective Vidocq (Depardieu) is grappled to his fiery death by a mysterious masked figure. Cutting back to Vidocq's offices some time earlier, we witness the entreaty of a lowly journalist to investigate the case of the 'lightning conspiracy', which leads to alchemical dastardly deeds involving, yes, the highest in the land. With its expressionist washes, portentous music and by rote performances, this silly historical drama is an irksomely overblown slice of DV Grand Guignol, with only muted sci-fi associations.

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