Movie Reviews - Featured Films » Independent Film Guide - C

Coup de Torchon Movie Review

philippe film bertrand tavernier

Jim Thompson was an Oklahoma-born paperback writer who wrote riveting tales about superficially boring people with humdrum routines and hellish interior lives. Thompson wrote two screenplays for Stanley Kubrick, and four of his novels have inspired both American and French filmmakers. In 1982, Bertrand Tavernier made Coup de Torchon/Clean Slate, switching Thompson's Pop.1280 locale to Equatorial Africa, circa 1938. The film won an Oscar nomination, but to me, it was as jarring as watching Agatha Christie's Saint Mary Mead transformed into Beverly Hills with story line intact. Philippe Noiret is a lumbering, cuddly teddy bear of a man, totally incapable of projecting the dark side of his homicidal character. I knew the film was losing me when I asked myself, “Why does he kill?” and my only answer was, “Well, it's in the script.” Stephane Audran and Isabelle Huppert contribute to the unreal proceedings and the whole thing is splashed with an overpowering jazz score by Philippe Sarde. The bizarre film has its aficionados, but the fact that the gruesome plot is played for laughs may strike some as obscene. Decide for yourself! AKA: Clean Slate.

1981 128m/C FR Philippe Noiret, Isabelle Huppert, Guy Marchand, Stephane Audran, Eddy Mitchell, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Irene Skobline; D: Bertrand Tavernier; W: Bertrand Tavernier; C: Pierre William Glenn; M: Philippe Sarde. Nominations: Academy Awards ‘81: Best Foreign Film. VHS

Cousin Bette Movie Review [next] [back] Cosi Movie Review

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or