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The Kimstim Collection: The Color of Lies
The Kimstim Collection The Color of Lies
Actors: Sandrine Bonnaire, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Bulle Ogier, Bernard Verley, Noel Simsolo
Director: Claude Chabrol
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Kids & Family, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2005     1hr 53min

Studio: Kino International Release Date: 08/02/2005 Run time: 113 minutes


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Movie Details

Actors: Sandrine Bonnaire, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Bulle Ogier, Bernard Verley, Noel Simsolo
Director: Claude Chabrol
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Kids & Family, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Kids & Family, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Kimstim
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/02/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 53min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Subdued Seaside "Thriller"
Doug Anderson | Miami Beach, Florida United States | 06/02/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This is a solid, if not particularly mesmerizing, mystery from France's master of suspense.

THE COLOR OF LIES has elements of several of Chabrol's earlier films: a seaside village (THIS MAN MUST DIE), a murderered child (LE BOUCHER), haunting psychological/sociopathological attachments (CRY OF THE OWL), a morally vacuous and predatory televison personality (MASQUES). Though COLOR OF LIES has an outstanding cast the film is almost too subdued for its own good and so viewers will likely find themselves recalling those other (and, in some ways, much better) Chabrol films.

THE COLOR OF LIES is competent but it has the feel of a mystery produced for public television. Despite the presence of some major stars (Sandrine Bonnaire, Valerie Bruni Tedeschi) it simply lacks the excitement one expects from a feature film. There are, however, some things worth noting and that for some viewers might make it worth your while.

The two leads, the painter/art teacher and his massage therapist wife are, as other reviewers have noted, strangely subdued. The painter is very passionate about his art but he has not achieved much success and so its a frustrated passion and one that is directed inward. This character with his Van Gogh haircut and mannerisms and his limp is almost painful to look at. And his wife (played by the earthy but ethereal Bonnaire) cannot seems to decide whether she still believes in him or whether she is on the verge of giving up on him and looking elsewhere for passion. She is more interesting when alone but these two do not have what you would describe as a charismatic or dynamic relationship and so its not that alluring to watch them together. It seems that they are at the point in their relationship when the love has cooled and they are simply struggling to survive some hard times which are made even more difficult when the painter is accused of raping and murdering one of his young female art students. Their apparent lack of emotionality and responsiveness to each other does not help things.

But then every character in this film could be described as "subdued".

To be fair I think the character's subdued response to each other's nasty habits ( murder, betrayal, and obsessive-compulsive lying) are what make the film interesting. This is one of those mysteries where the actual solution to the crime(s)is not necessarily the climax of the film; rather its the little revelations along the way that make this worth sticking with until the end. It's as if every character in this seaside community has at least one nasty secret or is involved in some illegal or compromising practice and that all of these secrets and practices are in some way linked and so any crime within the community implicates everyone in some way. The sense of crime and collaboration are actually what make up "community" and "relationship" in a Chabrol film.

Also there are no minor characters in this film, or, perhaps I should say that the minor characters are the most interesting. The visiting inspector Frederique Lesage (played by the female lead of Ozon's 5X2, Valerie Bruni Tedeschi) is a coldly professional careerist intent on solving the crime(s). She seems incapable of human attachments (she allows her own daughter to be cared for by a known prostitute and her boyfriend, a suspect in several robberies) and her only connection to others is strictly on an interview basis; thus the detective compares and contrasts well with the other "minor" character, Desmot, who is a television interviewer/print journalist who seems strangley remote and alientated from humanity. It is as if everyone in this comunity is weary of life because everyone knows a little too much about it. At the same time there is at least one surprise (it wouldn't be Chabrol if there weren't) that is arguably worth the wait. Some viewers might think its too little too late to save this sleepy seaside drama but if you are a Chabrol fan or a fan of quirky offbeat mysteries that aren't afraid to unfold at their own elegant pace then you might take the risk.

Murder in a small town . . .
Ronald Scheer | Los Angeles | 10/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I like Chabrol and I liked this film. Were there not a murder of a young girl in the opening scenes, it would be something of a comedy of manners, following the affairs of a married couple whose relationship is a good deal more tenuous than its bravely sunny surface suggests. Meanwhile, a mild-mannered character turns out to be capable of a great deal more inspired skullduggery than we've ever been led to expect. Chabrol seems fascinated by psychological ironies as he explores the lies and half-truths that hold people together, even while they hide from each other what's really on their minds.

The seaside setting (Brittany) is lovely, and the performances are nicely drawn, if at times a little quirky. Bonnaire's brilliant smile brightens many a scene, while it masks her character's motives - even apparently from herself. Meanwhile, the deliberately restrained police inspector, played by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, is a puzzling presence, seeming to guard yet another set of intentions behind a soft-spoken, fierce reserve. Whether it all works is a matter of debate, as evidenced in the differing opinions posted here. But I found it intriguing and enjoyed the light touch, especially the cleverness of the ending."
"You never really know who you live with."
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 02/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Common wisdom has it that Claude Chabrol's been trading water since the superb La Ceremonie, and decidedly minor efforts like La Fleur du Mal, Rien ne va Plus and Merci Pour le Chocolat certainly do little to change that view, but the surprisingly excellent Au Coeur du Mensonge aka The Heart of the Lie/The Color of Lies is easily one of his very best.

As usual he's not interested in the thriller mechanics of the film's murder mystery, preferring to focus on the effects on the marriage of the small-town art teacher who becomes the favourite suspect for locals and police alike. At once a subtle play on the nature of lies, floating the notion that when everybody's lying there are no more lies, and another of his portraits of small town petit bourgeois suspicion ("You never really know who you live with."), it benefits from superb performances from a surprisingly likeable Sandrine Bonnaire and a convincingly tortured Jacques Gamblin as the couple in the eye of the quiet storm, as well as good supporting turns from Antoine de Caunes as a smug overachieving author and local celebrity and Bernard Verley as an easygoing but quietly perceptive local cop that are more than good enough to make you overlook a horribly flat performance by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi as the detective in charge of the case. She's one of the only two real bum notes in the film. The other? Well, just for once couldn't Chabrol hire someone other than his son to write the score? Matthieu Chabrol turns out another of his identikit numbers - start off classical piano, add a bit of dissonance, then a bit of pseudo-comic artful jauntiness before collapsing back into classical piano mode - that adds nothing but tedious familiarity to the proceedings. But this is still more than good enough to overcome those obstacles.

Kino's DVD is an acceptable standards conversion from Pal that could be better, but it does at least feature the trailer, a subtitled introduction and 25-minute making of."
The color of emotions.
Doctor Trance | MA, United States | 03/01/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"After watching this above average crime drama from Chabrol, I was pretty mystified, and not by the film's mystery, but rather where was all the emotion in the characters of this film? We have a heinous crime committed at the beginning of the film, uncovered infidelity, and a second suspicious death, yet all the while, the people in this film are acting like they are strolling through one of Rohmer's non-violent, talky, morality films. From the very low key female police inspector, to her face full of food sidekick, to the man accused of this young girl's death (who also believes his wife is cheating), to the cheating wife whose husband may be a brutal killer, no one is acting like they are really caught up in the tension filled, life scarring, emotional situations that have occurred in this film.

Getting back to the very soft spoken police inspector: she is played by Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, who I just watched in Francois Ozon's 5x2, and judging by her dynamic emotional range portrayed in that performance, it further supports my gripe with the character's lack of emotion in this film. She appears like an amateur actress in this one, even though having been acting for several years prior, and an Oscar worthy one in 5x2. Sandrine Bonnaire was also underused, as judging by her extaordinary performance in Chabrol's own La Ceremonie.

Whether the script called for the characters to be this nonchalant, or it was Chabrol's direction, I found it hard to accept any suspense or tension that may have been present. I probably would have had these characters seemed to care more about what is taking place.

Comparing it to Chabrol's other suspense films of this period, L'Enfer, La Ceremonie, and Merci Pour Le Chocolat, I found it more watchable and more enjoyable than L'Enfer, but not up to par with the performances in La Ceremonie and my favorite of all of these, Merci Pour Le Chocolat.

Don't get me wrong, it's an interesting story, with a typical Chabrol ending, I just wish the actors acted like they were REALLY in the middle of all this."