Movie review: ‘Inspector Bellamy’


Chabrol’s final feature film

Recently deceased master filmmaker Claude Chabrol’s 50th and final feature, “Inspector Bellamy,” proves a sadly bland footnote to an illustrious and influential career.

A member of the French new wave movement who became known for such Hitchcockian suspense thrillers as “Le Boucher,” “This Man Must Die” and “La Femme Infidèle” (among many others), Chabrol takes a decidedly slack approach here in his portrayal of Paul Bellamy (a rotund Gérard Depardieu), a renowned Parisian police detective who investigates a crime while on an extended countryside vacation with his affable wife, Francoise (Marie Bunel).


If you didn’t know better, you’d think this flat, talky film, written by Chabrol and Odile Barski, was a back-door pilot for a one-hour TV procedural, one out of the 1970s or ‘80s at that.

The pedestrian case Bellamy must solve, involving a two-timer’s (Jacques Gamblin) link to insurance fraud and murder, not only lacks effective twists or tension but becomes diffused by a separate story in which the inspector’s self-destructive, younger half-brother, Jacques (Clovis Cornillac), comes to visit, exasperating Paul and disrupting the Bellamys’ serene domesticity.

Too bad Chabrol didn’t just focus on Paul and Jacques’ loaded fraternal conflict, which seems more rife with mystery than the movie’s perfunctory criminal plot, as the engine for his cinematic swan song.

—Gary Goldstein

“Inspector Bellamy.” Unrated. In French with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes. At Laemmle’s Sunset 5, West Hollywood.