Mediocre: The Blue Room
Directed by Mathieu Amalric
Written by Georges Simenon, Mathieu Amalric, Stéphanie Cléau
Produced by Paulo Brancom, Rémi Burah, Olivier Père, John Simenon
Starring Mathieu Amalric, Stéphanie Cléau, Léa Drucker, Laurent Poitrenaux, Mona Jaffart, Véronique Alain, Serge Bozon, Blutch, Paul Kramer, Alain Fraitag
Intimate moments from a final, truncated tryst between an adoring pharmacist (Cléau) and vendor of agricultural machinery (Amalric) and the repercussions thereafter interchange with the former adulterer's interrogations by a detective (Bozon) following his arrest, judge (Poitrenaux) after his arraignment and psychiatrist (Blutch) in jail as he awaits trial on a charge of homicide. Amalric's a director as fine as the cast and crew at his command; shot skillfully by its star and impeccably rendered, this deliberate revelation raveling from hotel room to courtroom only insinuates Simenon's classic flair for intrigue by selective divulgence and erotic motivations, as fit for cinema as any murder mystery or judicial drama. Its flaccid modernization by Amalric and co-star Cléau sadly sustains scant fire beyond the salacious site's interior, dragging deadly thwart merely 76 minutes as though a few hours elapse in needless protraction. Worse, Grégoire Hetzel's soupy score seems composed for another movie, smothering what could've been scenes rich in amorous tension and subtle suspense with deafening surges of orchestral melodrama. Consequentially wantoned are a toward story, Christophe Beaucarne's scenic photography (lensed in the Academy ratio!) and players perfectly cast, as sensitive in every expression as the abstruse ambage of the author's multifaceted plot. Amalric compasses his medium and this material, but not how to preserve Simenon's singularly immingled allurement of eros and pathos.
Instead, watch Monsieur Hire or any among plenteous televised or theatrical adaptations of Commissaire Malgret's exploits.