Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2004 - THE BRIDESMAID, a thriller that would have made Hitchcock jealous

At the age of 76, Claude Chabrol directed this very good thriller about a middle class French family and in particular the son, who get involved with a very strange woman.  Philippe becomes infatuated with one of the bridesmaids at his sister's wedding.  After sleeping with Philippe the bridesmaid, Senta informs him that they have been joined by fate to be together forever.  That should have have been a big warning sign to the horny and smitten Philippe.

Claude Chabrol makes smooth thrillers, after 53 films his technique is so good it's a pleasure to watch the story unfold with his emphasis on character instead of set pieces.  Chabrol has always been labeled the French Hitchcock, but Hitchcock in his 70's was turning out mediocre junk like Topaz, and Family Plot certainly nothing like this.

The focus may be on this creepy relationship, but Chabrol also  looks at this equally screwed up French family.  In some of his previous films, the family unit has been shown as extremely less than ideal role models and in The Bridesmaid this family doesn't seem like a particularly emotionally healthy group.

 The Bridesmaid is another fine film from a master director about the darker side of middle class society and human nature. Whatever Chabrol's feelings about class, values and society, he is a skillful enough storyteller to keep this film very interesting.

 Hitchcock stopped making interesting films after Psycho and pretty much slipped into rehashing and reworking ideas and set pieces from his previous films during his Universal period.  It's unfortunate he wasn't able to grow and further develop as an artist the way Claude Chabrol has in 70's.

The Bridesmaid is a very fine and impressive character driven thriller from a master of the genre.

111 minutes.

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