Secret Défense (1999)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Secret Défense Photos

Movie Info

In this French-Swiss-Italian murder mystery, medical researcher Sylvie discovers that her brother Paul, having found new incriminating evidence, is planning to kill Walser, the man who gained control of their dad's high-tech company after his death. To protect Paul, Sylvie plans to kill Walser herself, but is he really guilty?
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Leonor Films


Francoise Fabian
as Genevieve
Laure Marsac
as Ludivine, Veronique
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Critic Reviews for Secret Défense

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (5)

With suave and feline images by the cinematographer William Lubtchansky, Rivette offers a virtual documentary on modern bourgeois solitude ...

Full Review… | February 3, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

The brooding intimations of Greek tragedy are part of what keeps this 170-minute thriller fascinating throughout.

Full Review… | November 12, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

For all its mysteries, the movie thoroughly repudiates suspense.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Hermetic and somewhat opaque, this perfectly symmetrical tragedy is not for every taste. For those willing to enter the Rivette zone, however, it's a chess puzzle devised by a grand master.

November 13, 2001
Village Voice
Top Critic

As the glacially paced film inches forward with its halting conversations and accusatory glances, it tests your patience. And when the truth ultimately tumbles out and more violence erupts, don't expect a catharsis.

Full Review… | November 13, 2001
New York Times
Top Critic

Thanks to Bonnaire's characteristically intelligent performance, the circumlocutions hold some interest, proving again that since her discovery by Pialat she has become the most uncompromising of French actresses.

Full Review… | November 12, 2007

Audience Reviews for Secret Défense

Calling this movie "deliberately paced" is understatement, but a patient viewer will appreciate its meditative approach to storytelling. Long train rides never seemed so meaningful.

Gabriel Knight
Gabriel Knight

A meditative anti-thriller-cum-Electra adaptation that broods along and unravels slowly. This is easily the most conventional Rivette film, focusing more on sketching out the characters' psychological terrain than any of his other works, though the film's style and narrative structure is pure Rivette, including a set of characters who repeats the same set of actions until the narrative reaches its conclusion. While this has served Rivette well in his films about theater and cinematic deconstruction, it works just as well here because Rivette is more interested in examining the process and circumstances causing the major narrative actions rather than the actions themselves. Bonnaire is excellent.

X. T. C.
X. T. C.

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