12/14/2017  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Palm Pictures presents
The Flower of Evil (La Fleur du mal) (2002)

"We all have our weaknesses."
- Michele (Melanie Doutey)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: June 16, 2004

Stars: Nathalie Baye, Benoit Magimel, Suzanne Flon, Melanie Doutey, Bernad Le Coq
Other Stars: Thomas Chabrol
Director: Claude Chabrol

Manufacturer: Blink Digital
MPAA Rating: R for (brief language)
Run Time: 01h:40m:56s
Release Date: April 20, 2004
UPC: 031398119647
Genre: foreign


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B C+BB- C+

DVD Review

The Flower of Evil, released in 2002, was something like the 50th film from director Claude Chabrol, certainly a milestone of sorts, and as one of the founding fathers of the French New Wave he is definitely held in high regard by members of the art house crowd. The cover blurb for this particular title refers to Chabrol as "the master of suspense", and while his earlier works do tend to fall along those lines, The Flower of Evil is more of a mildly perverse character study that does include a murder, but ultimately finds itself more concerned with the dysfunctional functions of a pair of rather well-to-do French families who are intertwined by marriage.

At the top of this particular twisted heap of emotional baggage paraded out by Chabrol we have Gérard Vasseur (Bernard Le Coq), the patriarch with the wandering eye, who long ago married Anne Charpin (Nathalie Baye), a determined woman with an eye on local political office. Gérard's twenty-something son is the quiet François (Benoît Magimel), who, as the film opens, has just returned home to the French countryside after spending four years studying in America. Anne's twenty-something daughter is the demure Michèle (Mélanie Doutey), a brainy psychology student, and the fact that step-relations Mélanie and François have a longstanding and smoldering sexual attraction to each other does not seem to phase anyone in the slightest. Least of all kindly and aging Aunt Line (Suzanne Flon), who is the elderly Charpin connection to a Nazi-tinged past.

Chabrol opens with a wonderfully slow tracking shot that begins in a garden, leading into an elegant country home, past the dining room and slowly up the stairs, through a long hallway before we come across what is most certainly a dead body. For the sake of the story, narrative timelines become fuzzy, so instead we are left to learn about the assorted bickering Vasseurs and Charpins, and the stiff on the carpet is left as either a flashback or flashforward—Chabrol holds his cards close to his chest, which is more than I can say for the backcover blurb, which reveals large chunks of the plot best left unsaid. Regardless, the chatty tale becomes laden in step-relations sleeping with each other, a married man sleeping with young women, mysterious leaflets with slanderous family history, and an old woman who hears voices from long ago in her head.

The elements are all there for a ripping good French pastoral suspense drama, but Chabrol seems content to allow his actors to have strong individual scenes, without the benefit of an overall plot that should be linking these small moments together. Instead, things tend to drift, moving into what seem to be side stories that just detract, rather than help the narrative.

The cast does an exemplary job with the tepid material, turning random scenes that often go nowhere into fairly compelling little vignettes that at times make The Flower of Evil seem much better than it really is. It is Suzanne Flon, as the aging Aunt Line, and Nathalie Baye's tough politico, Anne, who are especially effortless in their performances, though Benoît Magimel—who often is left to do little but fume about his father—and Mélanie Doutey—who could give Audrey Tautou a run for the money in the "ridiculously cute" department—do show off some finely restrained sexuality and innocence in their scenes together.

Make no mistake—the actors are all immensely watchable here, but as a suspense film it certainly takes too long to get to the final act, and as a traditional drama it sometimes wanders around the issue at hand, forgetting to advance the story.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen release from Palm has some beautiful moments (more so than bad), but it also has its share of imperfections, making this a rather flighty transfer in terms of consistency. Anything filmed outdoors or in brightly lit rooms looks radiant, with deep golden color, balanced by evenly rendered and natural fleshtones. Problems arise when the locale switches to darker settings, where black levels take on a decidedly muddy tone, which when compounded by some intermittent specking, makes for some major contrasts in image quality.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: Audio is provided by a pair of original French language tracks, available in either 5.1 Dolby Digital surround or 2.0 stereo. The surround track doesn't provide much in the way of any discernible rear channel activity, but the balance across the front speakers is pleasing, with distortion-free dialogue the order of the day.

The stereo track is noticeably flatter, but still presentable.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo Gallery
Extras Review: Not much in the way of extras, aside from a "family tree" that not only shows the relationship between characters, but reveals the particular actor's (or Chabrol himself) filmography when clicked upon.

Also included is a photo gallery of 10 images, and a theatrical trailer for the American release that builds up the suspense element of the film to nearly ridiculous levels, and would have infuriated me if I had seen the trailer first, because it barely resembles the actual film.

The disc is cut into 18 chapters, and features optional English subtitles.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

While the performances here are all first rate, the main crux of the story seems to take forever to formulate.

The Flower of Evil is a woefully slow-moving tale, leaving in its wake small, scattered pockets of wonderful acting, but little in the way of Chabrol's typical bite.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store