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Thursday, December 22, 2016

LE DERNIER DIAMANT / THE LAST DIAMOND (2014)

Standard caper pic about stealing the World’s Largest Diamond (yawn) has glamorous leads & tasty locations, but never quite sells its premise. Bérénice Bejo is too naive as a first-time seller, thrust into the spotlight after her mother’s death, and Yvan Attal’s on-parole master thief is too much the romantic softie. Writer/director Eric Barbier must have noticed, and overcompensates for his own stale material with over-active direction that’s close, choppy, agogic, largely obscuring the working mechanics of a criminal gang we barely meet. (With only five films over twenty-five years, perhaps he’s just too eager to show his wares.) Fortunately, a bit past the halfway mark, the ‘successful’ robbery goes Topsy-Turvy, pulling the rug out from all sides of the action. To his credit, Barbier again takes note, calming down on his fancy cinematic footwork and parsing out his retwisted plot to decent effect. Though we’d be better off without the corny tag-ending.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Capers don’t have to be loaded down with got’cha twists to hold our attention, just a believable set-up and the info to follow (and empathize with) the criminal element.

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