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Movie Review: The Statement

Alternate Title: Collaborators are alive and STILL living in France

Story: This film was adapted from the novel by Brian Moore which was based on a true story about collaborator Paul Touvier, who in 1944, helped the Nazis find and execute seven French Jews. He was finally tried and sentenced to life in prison in 1995.

How bad is this film? Let me count the ways.

It was a muddled, often laughable, extremely dull presentation of what should have been a successful mystery/thriller of a film. The ingredients for story greatness were all there. A secret society connected to the Catholic Church, an old crime, a great cast and Norman Jewison, the seasoned director at the helm. So what went wrong?

The actors were all British in what should have been a French film. So, it was often confusing and finally funny to hear everyone, especially our star, have Cockney and/or English accents.

The bumbling French police made Inspector Clousseau look like a professional.

The French landscape is hard to film poorly, yet it was managed in this film. The sky was colorless, the foliage dull and the perspective amateur.

The chase scenes were boring and so slow they seemed to be in second gear the entire time.

The characters were unsympathetic and eventually I only cared about what might happen to the dog, Billy.

And finally, the conclusion was empty and left one with more questions than answers.

It is a far, far better thing to stay away from this film.

Acting: This cast had it all. Sadly, there was nothing for them to do. Michael Caine was the despicable geriatric collaborator who the entire French police force could not find or ensnare. Tilda Swinton and Jeremy Northam as the only two honest people it seemed in France simply looked uncomfortable in this terrible film. I hope this wasn't the last film that the wonderful, late Alan Bates made. Charlotte Rampling held her own in a cameo role as the wife of the despicable collaborator.

Predilection: A cast with a pedigree like this one had seemed like a good idea at the time.

Critters: One dog (aforementioned, Billy) and a cat in a cameo role.

Food: It is France, so of course there was lots of food and smoking.

Visual Art: Church art.

Blatant Product Placement: None (but the Catholic Church does not fare well).

Soundtrack: Overwhelmingly awful.

Opening Titles: None. A simple statement about the Vichy Government and the French collaborators during WW II sets the scene for us.

Theater Audience: A handful of disappointment folks like us.

Squirm Scale: I squirmed at the awfulness of the film and at the possibility that the dog might get hurt (he does not).

Predictability Level: Who cared?

Oscar Worthy: NO

Nit Picking: Plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon.

Big Screen or Rental: Neither. But for some other Norman Jewison films how about: The Hurricane, Other People's Money, In Country, Moonstruck, Agnes of God, A Soldier's Story, ...And Justice for All, Jesus Christ Superstar, Fiddler on the Roof, The Thomas Crown Affair, In the Heat of the Night, The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming and The Cincinnati Kid.

Length: Under two hours (thankfully).

LOBO HOWLS: 2 (You can add this one to my Worst List of 2003)