A Pure Formality (1994) - Rotten Tomatoes

A Pure Formality (1994)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

A Pure Formality Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

In this eccentric Italian-French comedy, novelist Onoff is found dementedly running through the forest and is picked up by the police for questioning. Having just found a mutilated body in the woods, the cops suspect that Onoff is the killer. Although he claims he is innocent, Onoff is thoroughly interrogated.more
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Pascal Quignard
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 30, 1996
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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Roman Polanski
as Inspector
Sergio Rubini
as Young Policeman
Paolo Lombardi
as Warrant Officer
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News & Interviews for A Pure Formality

Critic Reviews for A Pure Formality

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (8)

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 16, 2003
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 13, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for A Pure Formality

Many say that the movie is underrated, but if it's so, it's reasonable. Most of the public in general won't be able to figure out wtf the whole movie was about (sometimes, even spoon-feeding becomes inevitable.....and that goes for me too). The movie also leaves you with many questions unanswered, which also, IMO, is not welcomed by general viewer. As for me, I was impressed with the way the movie moved forward, but as soon as I began to get signs of symbolism, I was kinda put off. After that point, I watched the rest of the movie for a pure formality. Besides, the ending of the movie isn't epic either (based on the assumption that I got it right). So there would be an elite group reserved for this 'different' kind of cinema that would be able to appreciate it, but I can't say how many of the rest would.

P.S. When I say "public in general", it includes me too (knew it already?). And all this blah-blah is just my opinion, and it can be wrong as it happens more often than not!!! So don't let it discourage you if you're going for it.

familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

Well directed & acted & fun to watch but nothing more, The twist doesn't work well & it spoils the film's intensity & seriousness & makes the whole thing a bit ridiculous

Arash Xak

Super Reviewer


This is an odd film if you consider that it's coming from the guy who made 'Cinema Paradiso.' It's essentially a near-2-hour Twilight Zone piece. I guess that by making this Tornatore was trying to branch out as a filmmaker, but he's not nearly as successful here as he was with 'Paradiso.' This film is often quite murky, and I'm not sure that the ending really works, but Depardieu and Polanski are excellent, and certain moments of their interaction are wonderfully compelling.

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