Monday, 25 June 2012
Norman Jewison's final film of a distinguished career that spanned a 40-year period and included award-winning films like Moonstruck (1987), In the Heat of the Night (1967) and Fiddler on the Roof (1971) was the thriller/drama The Statement (2003). The story is set in the South of France and Paris in the early 1990's and is centred on a former French officer in the pro-Fascist militia that served the Vichy Regime that in turn collaborated with the German occupying forces in France during the Second World War. Pierre Brossard has spent his life in hiding since the end of the war. A devout Catholic, he has evaded capture for 40 years by being given asylum in monasteries and abbeys and protection from corrupt officials in the French government. It becomes pretty obvious that no one is interested in exposing the collaborator until Anne-Marie Levi, a federal judge, and Colonel Roux, a senior French military police investigator, join forces to expose Brossard and the corruption that has protected him and other collaborators now in positions of power. Based on a 1996 novel of the same name by Brian Moore which in turn was inspired by the true story of a real life Vichy French police officer Paul Touvier who was implicated in the execution of seven French Jews.
I can't help but feel that that the movie would have benefited from being filmed in its native tongue and using subtitles. But I'm probably being picky, the calibre of the cast makes this thriller stand out with the likes of Jeremy Northam, Alan Bates, Charlotte Rampling and Ciaran Hinds and great performance’s from Michael Caine as Brossard and Tilda Swinton as Anne-Marie Levi. This diverting and entertaining thriller exposés both Catholic Church and the dark side of French politics