Bellamy (Claude Chabrol, 2009): France

Reviewed by Lava Farmer. Viewed at the Mann’s Chinese Theater as part of the 2009 AFI Film Festival.

If you’re good at solving a mystery, then Bellamy just might be the film for you.  It’s not filled with a lot of action, suspense, or thrills, but it makes you laugh, gets you thinking, and leaves you wondering.  A man with a story of a most peculiar murder interests a cop named Bellamy, made famous by his memoirs.  He listens to the man’s story, and then snoops around to see if he can piece together all the clues and in the process he begins to question his own life and relationships.

The relationships Bellamy shares with people are unique.  To his wife he is a caring and gentlemanly husband.  To his brother he is mean and uncaring.  Although most people seem to know ad respect him, they do not show him this respect.  Characters are constantly turning their backs towards him when speaking to him.  Toward the end of the of the film it seems as though he’s lost much of his confidence and thinks his wife may be sleeping with his brother.

Overall I feel that the message Chabrol was trying to get across is that there’s good and bad in everyone.  All people are capable of choosing to do good or evil and those choices aren’t always clear.  Life isn’t always straightforward or written in black and white.  The bad choices we make teach us lessons sometimes stronger than the good.  The gorgeous French landscape serves as an image of hope and awesome.  This film is witty and visually delightful.

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