Monsieur Hire Reviews
This is a REAR WINDOW type of story. But, this guy only looks into one window. Of course, we understand that because a beautiful, often scantily clad, woman lives there. Interestingly for a French film, we never see her nude nor during any of her frequent love-making sessions. But, what is going on with all the other people on that side of the building?
This lonely, window-peeper guy professes profound love for a woman he has hardly spoken to. It seems more like infatuation, tinged with lust. I suppose a pre-teen or teenager could make this mistake. But, our protagonist is a mature male, in his late 30s or 40s. And, its not like this guy is not getting any sex. We see him visiting a brothel where he apparently is a regular customer. We would have to think this persons psyche is extremely fragile, or even pathological.
Ultimately, the story is inconsistent. The ending/denouement is not believable. I was not willing to go along for that ride.
tragic really, poor monsieur hire.
the two protagonists were darn good , as was the script and the complementary cinematography.
Monsieur Hire is eventually gently confronted by Alice, who has noticed him spying on her on two separate occasions. After this point the story has three twists. The first two shouldn't have caught me as off guard as they did, the final one was an epic scene. The film is under 80 minutes long, you realize at the end that most of this was leading up to the conclusion. Before this point I looked at this as a solid romantic thriller, by the time the end came my mood changed. It was possibly the most devastating scene I've ever encountered. It gave me goose bumps, and I remained silenced for a solid amount of time. I was left speechless, this alone made this film leave a mark on me. One of my favorite French films, elegant but unconventional. The rawness of this film, is not to be put in words.
An aging Peeping Tom finally finds a perm victim, but before long he too ends up as one. While the plot is watchable enough, it isn't executed well enough to be completely drawn into it for its >90 minutes runtime. Sufficient performance by Monsieur Hire, though.
I have been going through a bit of a dry spell of late. Regular readers may have noticed this. For one thing, this doesn't much appear to be a section of the alphabet with a whole bunch of features in it. Documentaries, some, but mostly episodes of [i]NOVA[/i] or History Channel specials. I'm very pleased to have gotten [i]New Europe[/i] in today's library pile, but few of the Michael Palin travelogues are in the system, and this isn't one of the exceptions. My Netflix hasn't been much better. I started watching two movies the other day and turned both of them off. (It turns out that I can't even care about [i]Ghost World[/i] for Steve Buscemi.) So I've been watching a lot of stuff on Instant Play, which has made me even more determined that Netflix is really going to have to improve that system before it ever takes over for actual discs. Especially things like searching capability and catalog.
Monsieur Hire (Michel Blanc) is a quiet man who lives a quiet life in a quiet French neighbourhood. (I think Parisian.) His neighbours don't trust him, and it's true (though I don't know if they know this) that he has a record for some sort of sexual offense. However, he doesn't much interfere with anyone anymore and doesn't bother anyone. Only one day, Pierrette Bourgeois (Marielle Berthon) is murdered in a vacant lot near M. Hire's building. Everyone in the neighbourhood seems to assume he has done it. However, because he has been spying on Alice (Sandrine Bonnaire), he saw what happened that night when her boyfriend, Emile (Luc Thuillier), came over to her apartment. He had Pierrette's coat with him, you see. A police inspector (André Wilms) visits M. Hire repeatedly, because everyone in the neighbourhood has told him that M. Hire was obviously the man who killed Pierrette, but the inspector does not himself believe it. Then one day, Alice notices that she is being watched.
M. Hire insists that he loves Alice, but I do not believe this to be the case. I do not think it is possible. He says no one will ever love her the way he does, but how can he know? He knows nothing about her except what can be seen from across the way. I have been, in recent years, adamant that you can't diagnose someone with a mental illness based on words on a screen, but how much more do you know about a person from that? He sees what she does, but I think there are a lot of things that look normal but are completely nuts. He might be able to see her bookshelves, and I do believe you can tell a lot about a person from their bookshelves, but I doubt he's close enough to actually read the titles. He didn't know the sound of her voice until quite recently. There is almost nothing about her that he does know, and I really don't believe you can truly love someone without ever talking to them. And I think the ending of the movie proves my point, though I won't give that away.
Can I also say that I just don't get the bowling scene? I mean, it was vaguely entertaining and led to an interesting conversation between M. Hire and the police inspector (who never gets a name), but still. Okay, this is a way wherein M. Hire is almost human, but seriously? Bowling? And everyone in the bowling alley stops to watch his impressive display. It just feels out of place, the worse so because of the quiet nature of the rest of the movie. How did M. Hire even discover this talent? I can't see him hanging around bowling alleys for fun, and it rather feels as though he's doing so at this point to show the police inspector that he couldn't possibly be the murderer of poor Pierrette. But you know, killers bowl. It's a thing which is probably more rare in France, but it has been known to happen in the United States. There's an implication to Pierrette's death of serial killing, which doesn't get brought up much at all, but I bet there have even been plenty of bowling serial killers.
Honestly, I don't have a ton to say, here. This is a very still movie. Mostly, I am writing about it because I just don't think there will be anything else for me to write about today. I mean, will the documentary about roller derby I have from Netflix even be in the system? I wanted to explore the police inspector more. There is even a certain extent to which I want to know what happens next, because I don't much know about how rules of evidence work in France. I'm not sure there is a happy ending possible for these characters, but I don't know if this is the happiest ending possible, either. I missed the murder, at the beginning, and I thought for a while that there would turn out to be a certain possible plot twist, and there wasn't. But it would have been one more example of information it was possible to miss by just watching the situation from a distance. There are certain aspects of Alice's personality which I expected to be revealed--and which the ending does not actually remove as a possibility.
Hire is a lonely man with not much going on until he becomes a suspect of murder near his flat. Patrice Lacontice's picture isn't all terrible it makes one ask questions as to what is going on, especially when Hire develops a relationship with the woman he's been looking across from his flat. What about the murder? Lacontice doesn't even show anything about it except that a fed is on to him.
The woman seems to be an exibitionist who at first is scared when Hire is looking across from her flat, but that fear goes away quickly, she isn't afraid to roam around in her house while he watches, and pretty soon these two will have hidden motives that won't be revealed untill later on.