Dir: Manuel Pradal. France. 2006. 110mins.
Manuel Pradal,whose 1997 debut film Marie Baie DesAnges won universal plaudits, has unwisely decided to attempt a full-scalefilm noir for his third film. Set in NewYork City, Un Crime stars thenormally superb Emmanuelle Beart and Harvey Keitel, but there's littleconvincing chemistry between them, and even less between Beart and the thirdpart of the triangle, Vincent, played by Norman Reedus. It doesn't help thatthe script is confused and often implausible. There may be some theatrical lifein this movie in scattered territories around the world, including France, especiallygiven the box-office name value of the Beart and Keitel, but otherwise thislooks destined for the DVD bin.
Alice (Beart),whose French accent in this all-English production is never accounted for or mentioned(like the French title that it's being marketed under), loves Vincent (Reedus) fromafar. Vincent's wife was murdered years earlier, by a taxi driver, and Vincentjust can't let it go and get on with his life. Keen to free him from his ghoststo allow him to become interested in her instead, Alice picks up unsuspectingcabbie Roger (Keitel) and tricks Vincent into thinking he's the killer. The finalplot twist will be foreseen by everyone.
One suspects thatPradal was trying to make this film a bit arty, with its autumnal cityscapes,languorous music, lingering shots and moribund tempo, but it just comes off asplodding and uninvolving. A certain menace fills the air from time to time, butquickly dissipates because it has nowhere to go, and there's little tension inthe pedestrian dialogue. Despite involving the sultry Beart, the sex scenes areboring.
Charactermotivations generally remain either overly obvious or too murky, and the onemoment that promises a bit more depth - when Alice feels torn between herdesire for Vincent and her guilt for getting Roger killed - is neverdeveloped. Little imaginative detailsare added to the characters, ostensibly to bring them to life - Vincent racesgreyhounds and Roger plays with boomerangs (about which he talks in an incoherentphilosophical manner) - but these little shticks only succeed in reminding usthat these characters are all dead on the page.
Beart and Keitelseem to be acting their little hearts out to bring something to this thinscript, but it's difficult to understand what Alice sees in the thoroughlyunexciting Norman Reedus.
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