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This Man Must Die
This Man Must Die
Actors: Michel Duchaussoy, Caroline Cellier, Jean Yanne, Anouk Ferjac, Marc Di Napoli
Director: Claude Chabrol
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2003     1hr 50min

A hit and run driver kills a child. The child's father Charles wants to do everything to revenge the death of his son. After a long investigation, a chance meeting puts him in the presence of Paul, a despicable garage ow...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Michel Duchaussoy, Caroline Cellier, Jean Yanne, Anouk Ferjac, Marc Di Napoli
Director: Claude Chabrol
Creators: Jean Rabier, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Gaillard, André Génovès, Nicholas Blake, Paul Gégauff
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Pathfinder Home Ent.
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/20/2003
Original Release Date: 10/20/1970
Theatrical Release Date: 10/20/1970
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 50min
Screens: Color
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

Masterpiece of Chabrol's second phase
Doug Anderson | Miami Beach, Florida United States | 03/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Chabrol's name brings to mind two things, the French New Wave & Alfred Hitchcock. If you're looking for the New Wave side of the equation I would suggest Le Beau Serge, Les Cousins & Les Bonnes Femmes. All three early 60's New Wave masterpieces. By the late 60's however Chabrol was a different kind of film maker. This Man Must Die along with La Femme Infidele & Le Boucher are what might be considered the best films from Chabrol's second phase. Until his resurgence in the 90's with the Cesar winning La Ceremonie these three second phase films were also considered his last great films. La Femme Infidele, Le Boucher & This Man Must Die(under its French title Que la Bete Muere) have not been the easiest films to find but have now all been rereleased in March 2003. This Man Must Die begins with a little boy walking back to his home from a day at the sea. As he crosses the desolate street in the seaside village near his home a speeding car hits and kills the young boy. The car never stops but speeds away from the scene. Slowly the villagers gather round the corpse and when the father arrives on the scene he screams with helpless rage. After a period of mourning he begins to plot his revenge. He plans to find, earn the trust and then kill whoever it was that killed his son. The plot is one of Chabrols best. Each phase of the fathers revenge is fascinating to watch. We get to follow the fathers investigations as he hunts down the murderer and at the same time we witness what effect this revenge has on his psychology. When he does finally find the murderer he befriends him/her as planned and is invited to spend a week at the murderers seaside estate. All along he wonders to himself if he will actually be able to commit murder but as he gets to know this murderer he finds he is a most despicable creature who bullys every one around him. Murder nonetheless is a complicated thing and Chabrol is the master of the plot twist so you can sit back and enjoy this knowing full well you are in the hands of a master."
A cerebral thriller of vengeance
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 05/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"After a hit and run accident Charles Thenier (Michel Duchaussoy) loses his only son and he is determined to find and murder the perpetrator. In Charles's investigation he records every minute detail and notion that passes through his mind in regards to the death of his son in a small black journal with a red marker. However, the private investigation that Charles is running seems to come to an end as he watches with a discouraged mind all clues lead to nowhere, until by accident he comes across some information that leads him to the killer of his son. Calculated and determined Charles enters the world of the killer as he attempts to get as close as possible to carry out his vengeful plan. This Man Must Die is a cerebral thriller that is based on a novel by Nicholas Blake that Chabrol adapted brilliantly to a terrific cinematic creation. The suspenseful atmosphere that Chabrol creates is inescapable, as the audience can hear Charles's dark thoughts as he scribbles them down in his black journal, but cleverly Chabrol leaves something untold that will keep the audience in awe until the end."
A Marvellous TAle of Grief and Revenge
snalen | UK | 06/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Charles Thenier (Michel Duchaussoy) is an affluent, middle-aged writer of children's stories whose son has just been killed in a hit and run road accident in Brittany. The police draw a blank at finding the culpable driver. But Thenier, driven by a vengeful obsession, stumbles on a piece of information that leads him to the man he is after. This turns out to be Paul Decourt (Jean Yanne), a wealthy garage owner and a loathsome bully who tyrannizes over his family. It is easy enough for Thenier's hatred of Decourt to survive meeting him but he swiftly finds himself forming emotional ties to the latter's sister-in-law, glamorous TV actress Helene Lanson (Caroline Cellier) and to his deeply alienated son Philippe (Marc di Napoli).

In Britain this film is known as `The Beast Must Die'. The latter title is better. Partly because it is the original title of the English novel (by Nicholas Blake) on which the film is based. Partly because unlike the American title it doesn't make a nonsense of the title's allusion to `Ecclesiastes' as paraphrased by Brahms for the piece Chabrol incorporates in the sound track: as translated in the movie, `Il faut que la bete meure; mais l'homme aussi. L'un et l'autre doivent mourir.' `This man must die' doesn't really get it, does it? (Oh and by the way, be careful you don't go confusing this film with `The Beast Must Die' a very silly, but nonetheless very enjoyable and in any case extremely different British werewolf flick from 1974).

The likes of Quentin Tarantino and Chan-wook Park have made vengeance a fashionable subject for movies these days but you'll have to look a long way to find a film that tackles the subject as intelligently, honestly and beautifully as this. It's like a variant on "Kill Bill" but with a moral and intellectual maturity Tarantino will never come close to. It's one of the best of the Chabrol movies I know, wonderfully atmospheric and with Charol's fabulous flair for the small quirky details of the more or less everyday French live whose explosive disruptions form the subject matter of his often, and certainly this is a case in point, wonderful dramas.
A fine movie by Chabrol filled with revenge, tension and eve
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 12/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

""It may take six months," writes Charles Thenier in a diary he has begun, "or one or two years, but I'll find him. I'll make friends with him. I'll wait patiently. When he's trapped, I'll look at him with a smile, directly in the eye. And I'll make him deserve his death."

Thenier, a widower, has just seen his young son killed by a hit-and-run driver. The car was speeding through the narrow streets, struck the boy and didn't pause. When the police cannot find the driver, Thenier (Michel Duchaussey) is determined to do so himself. Then he'll kill the driver. This Man Must Die is one of Claude Chabrol's most elegant and tensest thrillers, with a conclusion that some might find ambiguous but which I found sad but emotionally satisfying. Thenier begins his search with a description of the car. He visits every garage he can think of. Almost by chance he learns of a car that had a fender repaired by the man who most likely was driving the car, the man who owns a repair garage. Thenier arranges a chance meeting with the other person in the car, the actress Helen Lanson (Caroline Celler), whose brother-in-law he finally learns was the driver. He seduces her and then arranges to accompany her for a few days visit to the man's home in Brittany near the coast. Paul Decourt (Jean Yanne) is the man, and his wife is Helen's sister. Decourt and his wife have a teen-aged son, Phillippe (Marc Di Napoli). Paul Decourt is a loathsome bully. If anyone should believe in evil, Decourt would be an example. He's not just loud, coarse and contemptuous of others. He amuses himself by humiliating his wife in public and dominating his son. He beds the maid and his partner's wife openly. He ignores anyone's feelings and opinion's but his own. His wife is intimidated...and his son wants him dead. During the time Thenier spends in Decourt's home he comes to know Phillippe, and the boy can sense that Thenier wants to kill Decourt, too.

"Lovers often hesitate," Thenier writes in the diary, "not out of shyness but to prolong their awaiting happiness. I, full of hatred, am savoring what awaits me. His killing will only be a gesture of a man throwing away the used peel of a fruit slowly enjoyed to the pit." Ah, yes...the diary. Decourt discovers it and keeps it, and a crucial question is whether or not Thenier set him up to find it. What at first was an obsessed and understandable pursuit of revenge and murder on the part of Charles Thenier now also is complicated by Phillippe's own determination. The diary may be Thenier's outlet for his thoughts, but it also could be a clever tool of self-protection. What we know for sure is that Decourt shortly after dies in agony. The police investigate and decide Thenier is probably the number one suspect. Yet when Phillippe intervenes we're not so sure. We're left with a satisfying tale of revenge and retribution, but also of sacrifice and of a kind of morality. After all, once a person has exacted his revenge, what's left?

The title of the movie comes from Ecclesiastes by way of Brahms, titled "Vier Ernste Gesange." Here's a part worth thinking about...

For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts,
as the one dieth, so dieth the other;
yea, they have all one breath;
so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast:
for all is vanity.

All go unto one place;
all are of the dust
and all turn to dust again.

The DVD is not anamorphic. There are no significant extras. The picture looks a bit faded and soft. I've heard some say that this Region 1 disc appears to have been copied from the Region 2 PAL release. Still, it's an excellent film and well worth owning."