THE FLOWER OF EVIL Add To My Top 10

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Release Date: October 10, 2003

Starring: Nathalie Baye, Benoit Magimel, Suzanne Flon, Bernard Le Coq, Mélanie Doutey, and Thomas Chabrol

Genre: Thriller/Suspense Thriller

Audience: Older teenagers and
adults REVIEWER: Dr. Tom
Snyder Claude Chabrol is an
elderly French filmmaker who
has been making little
thrillers since the 1950s. He
is sometimes referred to as
the French Hitchcock, but his
films are often much less
dramatic and extravagant than
those of the Master of
Suspense. Instead, they tend
to be more like small personal
dramas and character studies.
They are also often laced with
a strong sense of irony, a
slight dash of cynicism about
humanity, and a significant
amount of sympathy for
individual people and their
flaws. Such is definitely the
case with his latest movie,
THE FLOWER OF EVIL, which
concerns a political family of
rich landowners. When
Francois, a law student,
returns home after studying in
America for three years, he
finds that his stepmother,
Anne, is running for mayor.
This upsets his father,
Gérard, who likes to be the
center of her attention and is
afraid that the political
campaign will bring up several
family skeletons. For example,
Great Aunt Line, who is still
alive, was acquitted of
murdering Great Grandfather
Pierre, a collaborator with
the Nazis during World War II.
Also, Anne’s sister,
Gérard’s first wife, died
in a mysterious car accident
in 1981 with Anne’s first
husband. An anonymous hate
letter brings up these
skeletons in the public eye.
Suspicion lands on Gerard, who
has been cheating on his wife
with a series of women.
Meanwhile, Francois and his
stepsister, Michele, rekindle
their own romance, adding to
all the simmering
emotions. The story of THE
FLOWER OF EVIL climaxes with
the unnatural death of one of
these characters, an act of
self-defense. The ending that
follows is inconclusive,
anti-climactic, and
bewildering, however. Thus,
although other reviewers seem
to find Chabrol’s movie
engaging, this reviewer is
just more than a little
confused by what exactly
Chabrol is driving at. This
apparent confusion may reflect
the lack of a strong sense of
morality and spirituality in
the movie’s humanist
worldview. In fact, few
important or truly insightful
moral, political, or spiritual
points are made, a fact which
may stem from Chabrol’s
stated hatred for message
movies. Even so, the movie
seems to have something to do
with the secrets and sinful
feelings that we try to hide,
but that eventually entrap us.
Chabrol’s direction also
contains some uniquely droll
moments, such as when Anne
reluctantly goes on a
door-to-door visit with
potential voters in a public
housing project. Please
address your comments
to: Chris Blackwell Palm
Pictures 8409 Santa Monica
Blvd. Los Angeles, CA
90069 Phone: (323)
802-0101 Fax: (323)
802-0123 Website:
www.palmpictures.com

Rating: Not Rated

Runtime: 101 minutes

Address Comments To:

Content:

(HH, PC, Acap, P, B, V, A, D, M) Humanist worldview about the secrets and feelings that people try to hide with light politically correct sentiments against a fictional conservative politician who is wooed by a main character in the story and against capitalism, as well as pro-American element where young man counters French stereotypes of Americans and their lifestyle, and monotheistic element where one character sincerely says, “God help us”; 12 obscenities including a few “f” words and five light profanities; implied murder, attempted rape, person kills man by hitting him with blunt object, people drag body; implied adultery and implied fornication and incest; upper male nudity in one scene; alcohol use; smoking; and, poison pen letter and people are secretive, resulting in the cover-up of a possible crime.

GENRE: Thriller/Suspense Thriller

HH

PC

Acap

P

B

V

A

D

M

Summary:

THE FLOWER OF EVIL is a light suspense thriller from France about a rich political family whose skeletons come home to roost in a political campaign. Despite some droll moments, the ending is inconclusive, anti-climactic, and confusing, and few important, truly insightful moral, political, or spiritual points are made.

Review:

Claude Chabrol is an elderly French filmmaker who has been making little thrillers since the 1950s. He is sometimes referred to as the French Hitchcock, but his films are often much less dramatic and extravagant than those of the Master of Suspense. Instead, they tend to be more like small personal dramas and character studies. They are also often laced with a strong sense of irony, a slight dash of cynicism about humanity, and a significant amount of sympathy for individual people and their flaws.

Such is definitely the case with his latest movie, THE FLOWER OF EVIL, which concerns a political family of rich landowners. When Francois, a law student, returns home after studying in America for three years, he finds that his stepmother, Anne, is running for mayor. This upsets his father, Gérard, who likes to be the center of her attention and is afraid that the political campaign will bring up several family skeletons. For example, Great Aunt Line, who is still alive, was acquitted of murdering Great Grandfather Pierre, a collaborator with the Nazis during World War II. Also, Anne’s sister, Gérard’s first wife, died in a mysterious car accident in 1981 with Anne’s first husband.

An anonymous hate letter brings up these skeletons in the public eye. Suspicion lands on Gerard, who has been cheating on his wife with a series of women. Meanwhile, Francois and his stepsister, Michele, rekindle their own romance, adding to all the simmering emotions.

The story of THE FLOWER OF EVIL climaxes with the unnatural death of one of these characters, an act of self-defense. The ending that follows is inconclusive, anti-climactic, and bewildering, however. Thus, although other reviewers seem to find Chabrol’s movie engaging, this reviewer is just more than a little confused by what exactly Chabrol is driving at. This apparent confusion may reflect the lack of a strong sense of morality and spirituality in the movie’s humanist worldview. In fact, few important or truly insightful moral, political, or spiritual points are made, a fact which may stem from Chabrol’s stated hatred for message movies.

Even so, the movie seems to have something to do with the secrets and sinful feelings that we try to hide, but that eventually entrap us. Chabrol’s direction also contains some uniquely droll moments, such as when Anne reluctantly goes on a door-to-door visit with potential voters in a public housing project.

Please address your comments to:

Chris Blackwell

Palm Pictures

8409 Santa Monica Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90069

Phone: (323) 802-0101

Fax: (323) 802-0123

Website: www.palmpictures.com

SUMMARY: THE FLOWER OF EVIL is a light suspense thriller from France about a rich political family whose skeletons come home to roost in a political campaign. Despite some droll moments, the ending is inconclusive, anti-climactic, and confusing, and few important, truly insightful moral, political, or spiritual points are made.

In Brief: