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Category:    Home > Reviews > Flower Of Evil

The Flower Of Evil


Picture: B- Sound: B- Extras: C- Film: B-



Claude Chabrol is always referred to as the French Hitchcock and this time, while watching his 2001 opus The Flower Of Evil, he has (especially in his last few films) painted a portrait of undisturbed better French living, then lets disturbing elements slowly enter the picture. This time, we have some bad American influences, local politics, sex, a dead body, and the return of the repressed.


The casting is convincing and there are nuances throughout that keep getting the viewer involved in the narrative. This is, like other such Chabrol efforts, not the straight-out thriller American audiences would expect, yet it is not a stuffy Masterpiece Theater installment. Chabrol takes the Caroline Ellacheff/Louise L. Lambrichs screenplay and lets it slowly unfold as the dark rotten underside slowly opens (almost literally) like a flower until various symbolisms come together to make their point.


That is as much the point as is the revelations and solution of the film, which feels like Chabrol is repeating himself a bit, but the craftsmanship and style helps to off-set these misgivings enough that fans will want to check it out. It amazes me that Chabrol is still so capable after all these years, while hundreds of young new filmmakers are hacks-on-arrival.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.66 X 1 image is within a 16 X 9 ratio and does not look bad, but there are still some detail limits. Despite this, Eduardo Serra, A.F.C. A.S.C., does some fine composition throughout that keeps the viewer watching. There is also an interesting attention to the color palette. The Dolby Digital 5.1 AC-3 mix outdoes the 2.0 Stereo with Pro Logic version, offering comparatively warmer and clearer dialogue, as well as more naturalistic sound at the right sound level.

Extras are few, including a family tree of the characters, weblinks, the U.S. theatrical trailer and a brief photo gallery.


Another way to look at this is to think of it as the French take on the dysfunctional family who does not know it. They do function well enough to be part of higher society, but that turns out not to mean as much as some would think it was. In all that, this is smart, layered filmmaking that can get away with more problems than most. The Flower Of Evil is worth your time.



- Nicholas Sheffo


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