Like Beineix's debut feature Diva, this is a film of dazzling surface and equally dazzling superficiality; but where Diva was taut and full of action, The Moon in the Gutter is slow and portentous. Based on David Goodis' thriller about a bloodstain on a street and a stevedore obsessed with finding the man who raped his sister and prompted her suicide, the film expands the compressed plot of the novel into a catalogue of glossy images, all of it shot in the studio. The crux of the story is the relationship between the hulking stevedore (Depardieu) and a rich femme (Kinski) who, far from being fatale, represents the impossible dream at the end of his investigative quest. Beineix does manage to charge the affair with a sense of fierce anticipation; that aside, the film seems like an exercise in the non-development of narrative. In the end, though it's not the disaster the French press cracked it up to be, only the images stay in the memory as the Fabergé egg lies smashed on the floor, a pile of glittering fragments.