The camera's close-in, the performances committed and tremendously raw in this most emotive segment of the series. Thus far we know in outline that Blanc's Agnès secretly relies on morphine to get her through life as a teacher. Here's the in-depth chronicle of her relationship with police detective husband Pascal (Melki), whose towering devotion extends to keeping her steadily supplied. His connection is the local drugs baron, pressurising Pascal to take out escaped terrorist Bruno (Belvaux). Until then, no more white powder. Pascal's moral quandary is that he's not corrupt enough to kill a man, but his refusal is tearing his wife apart before his eyes. Blanc delivers one of the screen's most powerful portraits of addiction, while careworn Melki compels as a man buckling under the heavy price of redemption. Even if you're fresh to the trilogy you'll get that much, but the crowded narrative will make better sense for old hands, who'll already have the scoop on Belvaux's guntoting angel of mercy from One and fellow teacher Ornella Muti's errant spouse from Two. Fitting the bits together blurs the line between watching a film and participating in it, since the world of love, pain and violence Belvaux has set out through his collision of characters and genres only comes to fruition when individual viewers construct the wider fresco for themselves. Appropriately, the final shot looks down over Grenoble, and all those people, all those stories. A mighty achievement, but you'll have to collect the set to appreciate it.
Cast and crew