Is Maigret the role Gerard Depardieu was made for?

(M) 89 minutes, in cinemas

Well, after all Gerard Depardieu ought to take his flip as the nice French detective who’s actually Belgian. Gerard and Jules Maigret had been made for one another. Depardieu follows an extended line of distinguished interpreters: Jean Gabin, Charles Laughton, Michel Gambon.

Gerard Depardieu (left) was made to play the great French detective, who is really Belgian, Jules Maigret.

Gerard Depardieu (left) was made to play the nice French detective, who is admittedly Belgian, Jules Maigret.

Georges Simenon was born in Belgium, though he moved to Paris in 1922, aged 19. He had turn out to be a journalist at 15, documenting the seamier facet of life in Liege. He did the identical in Paris, the place there was extra to discover. Once he learnt methods to write for the pulp market, he labored at an astonishing charge – as much as 80 pages a day. When he got here up with Jules Maigret, he had tons of of novels and tales in print.

The first Maigret novel appeared in 1931. There had been 9 extra that 12 months. Maigret was partly conceived because the direct reverse to Sherlock Holmes. He was a broad-shouldered hulk of a person with bowler hat, everlasting pipe and heavy overcoat. He stated little and noticed a lot. Maigret is compassionate in direction of the troubled, with an understanding of human nature, each prison and people sinned-against.

Depardieu’s personal misspent youth has given him a uncommon sympathy as an actor. He has no pure haughtiness, not like Daniel Auteuil, who deserted his plans to play the detective after he had requested the vastly skilled Patrice Leconte to direct. Depardieu seems to have slimmed down for the function, following his interval of Brando-like proportions.


As to why Leconte needed to do a Maigret, I can not guess. He has little or no curiosity in creating suspense right here, although he’s fairly able to doing so (Monsieur Hire, from 1989, based mostly on one other Simenon novel, was fantastically tense). This Maigret is a personality research, based mostly on the forty fifth Maigret novel. It was printed in 1954 as Maigret and the Dead Girl, throughout Simenon’s self-imposed exile from France. He had been convicted in secret of collaborating with the Nazis, so he took his household to America for 10 years.

Aside from the shortage of suspense, Leconte movies it in accessible darkish, fairly than precise gentle. The movie is positively crepuscular. The nice detective sits at his desk illuminated by a five-watt lamp. Most of the movie takes place in the same gloom – even the massive showbiz occasion the place we first meet the woman (Clara Antoons) who will flip up useless in a park the following morning.

Maigret quickly connects the useless woman to a distinguished actress (Melanie Bernier). As he observes and uncovers, Maigret helps a homeless younger girl, Betty (Jade Labeste), to seek out her toes. Betty gives herself to the soft-spoken detective, however he’s a gentleman. He grieves for his misplaced youth, fairly than wanting to own hers.

That’s just about the plot. This is a greater than minimal Maigret. It’s Maigret unplugged – definitely in the case of electrical energy. If you’re prepared for Depardieu in quiet mode, it might suffice. If not, there’s an finish. Patrice Leconte says he’ll solely do that one Maigret.

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