Inspector Bellamy Directed by: Claude Chabrol Cast: Gérard Depardieu, Marie Bunel, Clovis Cornillac Running Time: 1 hour 50 min Rating: Unrated Release Date: January 21, 2011
PLOT: Vacationing Police Inspector Paul Bellamy (Dépardieu) becomes involved in the case of a man who faked his own death, while on vacation with his wife and brother.
WHO'S IT FOR? Fans of Agatha Christie-style mysteries would enjoy this film.
EXPECTATIONS: I had no idea what this film was about, only that it was directed by Claude Chabrol. I don't think I've seen any of his films.
ACTORS: Gérard Depardieu as Paul Bellamy: Perhaps France's most famous living actor plays a well-known Parisian police Inspector on holiday. He's sought out by a man who faked his own death. Unlike most contemporary police movies, Bellamy takes his time solving the case. He goes to see the various suspects, then goes home and discusses his ideas with his wife. He's thoroughly professional at work, but he behaves like a child when faced with his brother, Jacques. Despite being much younger, they have a very extreme sibling rivalry, causing both adult men to behave like children. Depardieu's performance is effortless, he is Bellamy. Though wow, he's gotten big in the last few years. Score: 8
Marie Bunel as Françoise Bellamy: As Bellamy's wife, she plays the duel role of confidant and peacemaker. It doesn't help that Bellamy's brother, Jacques, keeps hitting on her which raises Paul's ire. Bunel plays the part credibly though it's a bit thankless. She's lovely in that way that middle aged French women have that I envy, but doesn't do much beyond looking pretty. Score: 6
Clovis Cornillac as Jacques Lebas: I'm not familiar with the actor though he has a very long listing on IMDB. He does a good job as Bellamy's brother, though there's no physical resemblance between him and Depardieu. He's a chaotic person, scheming and stealing and then complaining to his brother about how he gets all the luck. He's an unhappy soul and I felt sorry for him but at the same time, found him to be a really annoying whiner. But hey, he does a good job playing an annoying dude. Score: 7
TALKING: Pretty standard, though it's in translation so I guess it's possible it's the most beautiful dialogue ever but was translated poorly. Score: 6
SIGHTS: The film starts with a pretty revolting image of a charred body, but gets better after that. By better I mean, no more dead bodies. Despite the fact the couple are on holiday, there isn't a lot of gorgeous scenery. Score: 6
SOUNDS: Not a lot of background music, pretty quiet. Score: 6
BEST SCENE: The final scene, where Bellamy discovers his brother has died in the same way that the person he's been investigating died. I'm not sure what it means but it was such a strange ending, it was very arresting.
ENDING: What I said above. Still not sure how I feel about it.
QUESTIONS: What does the ending mean? Is Jacques just unlucky? Should Bellamy have been worried about his brother rather than pursuing some unrelated crime?
REWATCHABILITY: It's good, but I'm not sure I'd be able to really rewatch a mystery.
Inspector Bellamy tells a simple story well. For much of the film, it's a very straight forward whodunnit in an old-school style. The pace is leisurely and it's clear that the mystery is secondary to Bellamy's personal life. However, unlike many modern detectives, he's not a drunk and he doesn't sleep around, he's just a fairly normal guy with a wife he adores and a brother who annoys him. That is, until the end where the two stories, the mystery and the rivalry between the two brothers story finally come together in an unexpected way. I enjoyed the film up until the end but was left wondering what everything meant. It wasn't enough to change my feelings about the film, but I was left thinking.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10