(Eric Barbier, France, 2006) 119min
This article is from 2007.
This slick French thriller – somewhat reminiscent of another recent export from that country, Tell No One – employs the familiar framed-for-murder/man-on-the-run scenario. The fugitive in question here is Parisian fashion photographer Vincent Mandel (Yvan Attal, last seen in Spielberg’s Munich), who’s having a tough enough time with a nasty divorce and custody battle for his kids, but whose life gets exponentially worse when he’s targeted by a blackmailer named Joseph Plender (Clovis Cornillac) and ends up taking the rap for the death of Plender’s partner in crime, a seducer sex-kitten named Sofia (Ukrainian model Olga Kurylenko).
Adapted by writer-director Eric Barbier from the noir novel Plender by the late British crime writer Ted Lewis, The Serpent is a solid suspense movie boasting a number of well-executed set-pieces (the best of which involves the desperate Mandel’s vertiginous flight from a scaffold-enshrouded courthouse). The enjoyably twisty plot resolves itself a little early on, however, and after a major revelation the film settles into a somewhat by-the-numbers race against time to save Mandel’s family from the wicked Plender. (Miles Fielder)
Cameo, 623 8030, 23 Aug, 9.35pm; Filmhouse, 623 8030, 25 Aug, 7pm, both £7.95 (£5.50).