Synopsis: Prudence Beresford is investigating another murder. Her aunt had witnessed it, but no body was found, and nobody trusted her word. Nobody, except Prudence, of course!
I have a small weakness for so-called “whodunnits”. When I was much younger, I enjoyed watching ‘Murder She Wrote’ quite a lot and I’d also read a few Agatha Christie novels along the way. Any half-decent mystery teased my brain and woke up my wonderment.
I still seek them out these days, but, admittedly, I tend to be disappointed with the end results: the offerings are usually too light to take seriously, so bloody convoluted it makes no sense whatsoever, or the clues aren’t actually there for viewers to pick up – in which case you may as well turn off your brain and wait for the grand finale (which is contrary to why I got into them in the first place! ).
‘Le crime est notre affaire’ succeeds in steering clear of these trappings, but what should have been a total blast was a semi-lifeless affair. Based on Agatha Christie’s works (it’s named after ‘Partners in Crime’, although which novella the material is culled from, exactly, I don’t know…), it attempts to weave together a real mystery with the amusing banter of our two leads, played by the terrific Catherine Fort and André Dussolier – in their second outing as the Beresfords.
While the acting was very good across the board, and the script was decent enough, it felt as though the characters’ interactions were all too contrived. In fact, even the “fun” seemed manufactured, despite the fact that Frot and Duchanel make for a pretty good duo (good enough that I’d watch their first entry without hesitation, anyway ).
Maybe I wasn’t in the proper mood to watch this, but scenes that purported to make its audience roar, left me only mildly amused (my impression is that it might tickle seniors more, humour sometimes being a generational thing). I also found that its mysterious centre didn’t really engage me that much, although it was sharp enough to keep me guessing; while I suspected the true culprit early on, I was off-base on a lot of the connecting threads.
To make matters worse, some scenes didn’t flow into each other very well at all: a couple of bits seemed out of place, while others muddled the story slightly, and there were dream/fantasy sequences that served to confuse things some more – until it started becoming clear that this would be a recurring thing.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure if these problems were due to the editing, the script or the direction – I’d have to watch it again, but more closely.
Because, ultimately, I may wish to revisit it at some point – perhaps when I get this director’s other two Christie adaptations (only one of which features the Beresfords). It’s a pleasant enough film and it’ll entertain on a languid Sunday afternoon.
Update (Nov. 29/11): I’ve since discovered, that, despite its title, the screenplay is actually based on Christie’s ‘4.50 from Paddington’.