Sunday, October 11, 2015

Mort un Dimanche de Pluie (1986)

Discoveries like this compensate for October's frequent disappointments.  A one-armed loon and his nutso family insinuate themselves into the lives of an architect, his wife, and their daughter.  The architect's secret shame is that he designed a building that collapsed, killing a bunch of people and one arm.  From here, the plot's blanks are easy to fill.


But the delivery is very impressive.  Dominique Lavanant is queen-sized as the film's greatest monster, a ginger mom who focuses her rage on the architect's young daughter.  The screenshot below isn't one of those scenes, btw.  That's her own daughter she's humiliating (young Celine Vauge as the mostly-dumb monstrosity Betty).


Thrillers like this live or die on villain performance and our three monsters acquit themselves quite nicely.  But the goodies are also pretty good, and so are the stylish sets and crisp editing.  About the only time the film flounders is when we take a break to listen to a z-grade Lionel Ritchie sing songs about boats.  Shorn of these scenes, Mort would be a thriller for the ages.


Even with the flaws, it's still plenty good, though.  The movie gets really nasty when it needs to, and the scripting is logical and balanced, even when it comes to distributing children's tears.  Plus I love that the whole thing is basically a country club Republican nightmare, with grotesque poor people invading a fancy home and wrecking its hard-working owners' lives.  This is a movie in which problems would have been avoided if a character had owned a car instead of relying on public transportation.   And the final showdown occurs in a hunter's house, the only place in France where one can find a gun.  Tres bien!


***1/2

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