The Swindle

"Weak"

The Swindle Review


There's no denying that Claude Chabrol is a master of the French thriller. But every once in awhile, even the best throw up a brick. The Swindle is workmanlike at best, a tired flick (Chabrol's 50th!) that even devoted fans will shrug their shoulders at.

Judging by the title and the con-game setup, we're on alert for twists from the very beginning: Betty (Isabelle Huppert) is seen with an obvious mark at a casino. Soon she's got him back in his hotel room, drugged, and lets in an older man who's been watching the pair. He turns out to be her partner Victor (Michel Serrault), and they take 1/3 of the mark's money (not so much that he'd miss it) and vanish back to their RV. These guys are small time and they know it. Nothing wrong with that, but while planning their next move, Betty decides to take a vacation. She and Victor reconnect a few weeks later at a mountain resort, and she's apparently got another swindle going with a wealthy man carrying 5 million Swiss francs in an attache case. Obviously Betty's going to make a play for it, but is Victor going to be in on the deal too? Or is he going to try to nab it all for himself?

What follows is not a series of twists and turns but a flat-out linear narrative that does injustice to the con game movie. I'm not spoiling anything here by saying that the biggest twist in the film is that Huppert takes off a black wig to reveal her red hair. That's shocking, and for a con movie, it's inexcusable. You sit and watch and wait... you know something's going to happen. And nothing ever does.

It's made worse by the fact that none of this makes a lick of sense. The mark spends a week in the Swiss Alps with the money-filled attache sitting in his closet. Suddenly, when it's time to leave, he requires it be chained to his wrist? Or chained to his untrustworthy girlfriend's wrist? Considering he passes out drunk and the con men stand there, staring at the case, why not grab it and run? No reason except that Chabrol has a silly "which case is the money in?" setup planned for the third act, though his blatant camerawork always leaves little doubt as to that answer. (Hint: It's in the case he lingers on for several seconds at the end of a scene.)

Apologists would like to imagine this is not actually a con movie but rather a comedy, and Chabrol does make some attempts to be funny, a few of which succeed (though I wager the jokes are better if you understand Franco-Swiss relations in full). For the most part this is an unfunny and unthrilling film; it's serviceable as light entertainment, but it's a weak entry into Chabrol's oeuvre. Ultimately, I can only assume that the titular swindle refers to the audience who paid $15 for the DVD.

Aka Rien ne va plus.



The Swindle

Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Monday 1st October 1962

Distributed by: Prima Film

Production compaines: MK2 Productions, TF1 Films Production, Télévision Suisse-Romande (TSR), Rhône-Alpes Cinéma, Canal+

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 6

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Victor, as Betty, as Maurice, Jean-François Balmer as Monsieur K

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.