Often a film critic references another film/actor/director in a review to give the reader some sense of the style of film one might expect. (ie: “Hitchcock-ian,” “Spielberg-ian,” “Uwe Boll-of-Crap,” etc.) I’m guilty of this myself. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it hurts. The comparison often leads an audience to go into a film with certain expectations that are often unfulfilled.
Such is how it has been with “Nobody Else but You,” a French film now in general release. The material I received when previewing this film compares it to a couple of films/TV shows and I think that, in this case, it does a disservice to the film. I found “Nobody Else but You” to be a winningly original, highly entertaining film and an absolute rarity – a mystery that doesn’t telegraph its ending and manages to keep its reveal to the very (satisfying) end.
Set in small town France in the dead of winter – isn’t winter the best season for mysteries? – Jean-Paul Rouve plays a mystery writer (with writer’s block, of course) who arrives in town for the reading of a will. After disposing of his inheritance, he hits the road and comes upon a very unusual scene – a crime scene – the apparent suicide of the celebrity “spokesmodel” for the local dairy (Sophie Quinton.) What’s a mystery writer to do? Investigate!
And so it begins. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. None of this seems very original, but it’s not the stock components (suicide/murder/writer’s block/narration from beyond the grave, etc.) that make this film. It’s what director Gerald Hustache-Mathieu does with them. He takes these hackneyed elements and constructs something new and refreshing around them – and he does it by taking all these mystery fundamentals and inserting them (in a very original way) into what we know about some very famous people.
I mean, when’s the last time you saw a really good film that combined all those elements with the world’s endearing obsession with Marilyn Monroe, her gay iconic status, her relationship with the Kennedys, the mystery surrounding her death, and modern French politics – all set to the beat of a kick-ass soundtrack?
You haven’t. Till now.
“Nobody Else but You” opens July 6th in the San Francisco Bay Area at Landmark’s Lumiere Theatre and Shattuck Cinemas. Check your local theatre listings.