Bernard Rapp’s psychological co-dependency thriller doesn’t quite add up (or come off), but the basic idea holds your attention even as it reminds you of something better, say, Joseph Losey/Harold Pinter’s THE SERVANT/’63. Bernard Giraudeau plays a master-of-the-universe business type who hires Jean-Pierre Lorit, a boyishly handsome waiter, as his ‘taster’ . . . but there's more than food involved. Not sex, exactly, something closer. He's taking over his life for companionship, blood-brotherhood, a doppelgänger made from scratch. But for the concept of the story to work, we need to be as readily seduced as Lorit is; and Giraudeau comes across as little more than a rich, controlling, narcissistic asshole. Actually, the most intriguing character, and the film’s best perf, comes from Charles Berling as the personal chef. Playing Mosca to Giraudeau’s Volpone, he’s on to everything that goes on, and knows how to manipulate all parties. But instead of working off of Berling’s POV, Rapp tries to camouflage the film’s thin texture with a flashback structure that finds an elderly Jean-Pierre Léaud (Truffaut’s famous film alter ego) playing investigating jurist to most of the principals, killing off any possible suspense.
WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: In addition to THE SERVANT (see above), Orson Welles’ fascinating, if hard to love, MR. ARKADIN/’55 also keeps coming to mind.