A Pure Formality

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Essentially a stagey two-hander in which, in a strangely sinister, seemingly timeless police station, inspector Polanski interrogates the partly amnesiac Depardieu, who claims he's a famous author but who may in fact be responsible for a murder committed near the novelist's home. Emphatically metaphorical and full of thumpingly obvious symbolism, Tornatore's film depends heavily on the two leads for effect - Polanski's sly, shrewd performance outshines Depardieu's broader turn - but even they can't distract from the ludicrous contrivance of the film's threadbare central conceit.

By: GA

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