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    Who Killed Bambi?

    Who killed "Who Killed Bambi"?

    Belying his track record, writer Gilles Marchand lets director Gilles Marchand down a bit with a script that doesn't give enough smarts to the would-be thriller "Who Killed Bambi?"


    There's a certain kind of psychological dread found in the best of Hitchcock's films. It's also seen in such French thrillers as Clouzot's "Diabolique" and Lelouch's "La CŽrŽmonie." So it's probably no accident that it was to Truffaut that Hitchcock explained his use of suspense.

    Original title: Qui a tuŽ Bambi?.
    Directed by: Gilles Marchand.
    Written by: Vincent Dietschy, Gilles Marchand.
    Cast: Sophie Quinton, Laurent Lucas, Catherine Jacob, Yasmine Belmadi, Michle Moretti, ValŽrie Donzelli, Jean-Claude Jay, Aladin Reibel, Thierry Bosc, Lucia Sanchez, Fily Keita, Sophie Medina, JosŽphine de Meaux, Lucienne Moreau, Catherine Salvini, Jean Dell, DorothŽe Decoene, Alexandra Ansidei, Lisa Huynh, Anne Caillon, Franoise Pinkwasser, Dominique Charmet.
    Cinematography: Pierre Milon.
    Edited by: Robin Campillo.
    In French with English subtitles.
    Rendezvous with French Cinema 2004
  • Grande Ecole
  • Twentynine Palms
  • The Time of the Wolf
  • Who Killed Bambi?
  • That being said, not all French thrillers can reach the elevated level of a "Diabolique" or even the high middle ground of "La CŽrŽmonie." But one assumes that the writer of "With a Friend like Harry" — the best comic thriller, French or otherwise, in the last five years — could. So much for assumptions!

    "Qui a TuŽ Bambi?" ("Who Killed Bambi"), marks the directorial debut of "...Harry" writer Gilles Marchand. His heroine, Isabelle (Sophie Quinton), a na•ve young student nurse with a vivid imagination and an Algerian boyfriend (Yasmine Belmadi), senses something amiss in both the presence and ministrations of the handsome Dr. Philipp (Laurent Lucas). All the nurses find him swoony. Bambi alone claims to be unattracted to him, yet she faints several times in his presence for no apparent reason.

    Who Killed Bambi?  
    So, the good (or bad) Doctor dubs her "Bambi," although a better nickname might have been Nancy (for Nancy Drew). Quinton makes a showy debut in the title role as a suspicious young amateur girl detective. Dr. Philipp works his charm overtime on her and Lucas' good looks — like a young Martin Landau — are slightly askew, so you're never sure if he is a good doc or a bad doc.

    Marchand seems to be aiming for a Cary Grant/"Suspicion" kind of "is he or isn't he a bad guy?" scenario, but it never quite gels. Bad things do happen to several nurses and even to Bambi's unhappy sister, but the story feels forced and predictable rather than suspenseful or frightening.

      Who Killed Bambi?
    The overall design of the film and its use of saturated color gives it a vaguely sixties feel and the costumes go along. Marchand is also fond of using doors as frames, hallways as tunnels and reverse mirror shots ˆ la Hitchcock. These elements enhance the sense of claustrophobia engendered just by being in a hospital and do add to Bambi's own growing sense of dread. But it's still not quite enough.

    In addition to "...Harry," Marchand also co-wrote the scripts for Laurent Cantet's stark "Human Resources" and Jean Paul Rappeneau's recent World War II musical "Bon Voyage." Well, two out of three ("...Harry" and "HR") ain't bad. He is a gifted writer to be sure, but Marchand the director should have been better served by Marchand the writer — the script is the weak link in "Qui a TuŽ Bambi?"

    NOVEMBER 8, 2004

    Reader comments on Who Killed Bambi?:

  • [no subject]   from lola, Feb 25, 2006
  • Music   from Mary Alice Martinez, Dec 21, 2006

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