One of the most popular movies screened recently at the French Film Festival, this French-Belgium crime drama follows fictional French police detective Jules Maigret as he investigates a ghastly murder.
Set in Paris in the 1950’s, a beautiful young woman is thrown out of a lavish party only later to be found deceased from stab wounds. Described as the girl from nowhere one of the characters stated that “Paris is full of girls like her”. But why was she thrown out and who murdered her?
Enter Jules Maigret, a large broad-shouldered and gruffy but fair law enforcer whose practical detective work quickly leads to the killers.
Based on the 1954 novel Maigret And The Dead Girl the mystery builds quickly in the first half of this stylish, suspenseful and highly atmospheric film. It’s a good old-fashioned crime drama and only Gerard Depardieu could have brought this fictional character to life on the big screen.
Moviegoers expecting a whodunnit along the lines of an Agatha Christie murder mystery may be disappointed however, as there aren’t a large number of suspects for armchair detectives to filter through.
In the second half there are a few twists and turns which are conventional for films of this genre. The finale is slightly underwhelming only because ambiguities in the final moments of the film seem to raise more questions than answers.
With 75 novels and 28 short stories written by Belgium author Georges Simenon featuring Maigret there’s plenty of murders to be solved, hence the possibility for many sequels to follow.