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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Literature > Politics > French > German > TV > The Red & The Black (French/German TV Mini-Series)

The Red & The Black (French/German TV Mini-Series)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: D     Episodes: B-



Julien Sorel (Kim Rossi Stuart) is a young man from a lower socio-economic position during the French Restoration period, but in his ambitious drive to find success, has an unexpected turn in his life when he falls in love with a married woman named Louise (Carole Bouquet of Too Beautiful For You, That Obscure Object Of Desire and For Your Eyes Only) who is part of the upper crust in the ambitious French/German 1997 Mini-Series adaptation of Stendhal’s novel The Red & The Black.


Miss Bouquet is one of those great actresses who happens to be a beautiful woman of world-class caliber and is amazing in just about everything she does.  She is not just window dressing, but an actress who can handle any challenge and here, shows amazing range throughout.  It is no surprise Stuart’s character would fall for her; what heterosexual man wouldn’t.  The resulting chemistry between the actors propels the 3.5 hours even when there are sagging points, but most of all, it saves the series from tired melodramatic conventions.  Stuart is also very good and showed he could carry a male lead, but a larger career did not take, hurt by Roberto Benigni’s Pinocchio.  However, he was amazing in Keys To The House, reviewed elsewhere on this site, and hope to see his film Crime Novel and his directorial debut afterwards.  Bouquet was recently on Sex & The City in 2004 and continues her phenomenal acting run.  See two great stars in performance that will only appreciate in value.


Supported by a solid cast, it makes for a pleasant, mature, intelligent, surprise import worth your time and better than many such mini-series we have seen recently.  This was shown in the U.S. on the Bravo Network.  The letterboxed 1.66 X 1 image is not bad, with a clean set of prints and decent color throughout.  The cinematography by Gérard Vigneron is exceptional for a TV production and the visually rich production is impressive.  There are no extras, but it is a top rate production, even when it gets bogged down a bit.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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