‘This story must be buried.’
In how many films do we see a criminal suffering from guilt obsession of murder so terribly that he confesses everything without any sort of external pressure or obligation and then the offended man pardons him instantly not in one case but two; most closest relationships of life. It heightens the psychological guilt of the protagonist urging to get punishment. It may be accidental or chance surprise murder but the guilt is something that is focused at its naked core here. This is a meditation on guilt.
A young wife was strangled on bed as the film opens; slowly we come to know that she’s married woman and an infidel dwelled in multiple liaisons. And we know the man who killed her. He is an upper class bourgeois and responsible family guy. He is being considered as timid by his colleague and who’ve never indulged in any sort of crime much before he entrapped with the lady who happens to be his closest friend’s wife.
This is my third Chabrol film and so far he never failed to impress me with his treatment and character projection however cliché the plot is. The way he builds a tension with slow and calm intensity is something you won’t find in many mature filmmakers’ cinema. Infact it was not murder mystery at all to give you momentary excitement in form of entertainment but something which a few filmmakers has touched upon. It is an intensifying drama and tragedy built on its protagonist’s obsessive guilt consciousness. Though slow in pace it maintains fine equilibrium of seriousness between tension and drama and an absolutely invigorating play between the morbid sadistic desire and masochistic affair. In one word this is Chabrol’s open love letter to the guilt consciousness and remorse. Surely one of the finest of Chabrol and something that is mandatory to all serious cinema lovers.