The Cry Of The Owl

Adapting the Patricia Highsmith thriller of the same title while transferring the action from an American small town to Vichy, Claude Chabrol returns to the mannerif not quite the distinctionof his late 60s work (e.g., La femme infidele, Le boucher). The plot concerns a solitary figure (Christophe Malavoy) fleeing a vengeful wife (Virginie Thevenet). He spies on a young woman (Mathilda May) from afar until she discovers and is drawn to him, which destroys her own relationship with her fiance (Jacques Penot). Things get much more complicated after that; Jean-Pierre Kalfon (L’amour fou) plays the police detective who eventually steps in. For viewers who enjoy the grim moral ironies of Highsmith, this can be highly recommended; those like myself who find her work gratuitously unpleasant won’t see any reason here to revise their opinion (1987). (JR)

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