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The Hook

Director: Thomas Vincent

FRANCE| 2004| FRENCH W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES| COLOUR| 111 MINS


The Hook plays like Strangers on a Train set on the Cote d’Azur. Down on his luck novelist Ben Castelano (Francois Cluzet) bumps into former pal Brice Cantor (Bernard Giraudeau), now a suave author whose latest book is visible on the shelf between translations of Tom Clancy and Patricia Cornwall. Brice, who is headed for his palatial country home on the Riviera, tells Ben that a messy on-going divorce from his wife Lucie (Anne Brochet) has left him blocked as a writer and threatens to bankrupt him. On the train, Brice lays out a mutually beneficial solution. Brice has no manuscript; Ben, who also specializes in crime fiction, has one ready to go. Brice will submit Ben’s novel as his own work and the two writers will split the hefty advance. When Brice remembers that Lucie will get half of his writing revenue — leaving him without a half to give to Ben — Brice concludes that Lucie must die and that Ben, who’s never met her and lives far away, is the perfect candidate to kill her. Director and co-adapter Thomas Vincent, whose much-praised 1999 debut Karnaval highlighted working class concerns under gray skies, is equally at home in the rarefied air of cultural nabobs and extravagant lifestyles. The two lead actors deliver wonderful portrayals and special mention must be made of the magnificent Karen Viard as Ben’s wife. This film excels at exposing the gap between — not the haves and havenots — but rather the have-lots and wish-they-had-mores.

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