Claude Chabrol, dubbed by some the French Alfred Hitchcock, turns Ruth Rendell’s psychological thriller A Judgement in Stone into one of his best movies. Isabelle Huppert won the 1996 César Award for Best Actress, her only win at the Césars, though she has 15 other nominations up to 2017.
The admirable Isabelle Huppert and Sandrine Bonnaire chill the soul as the tormented local postmistress Jeanne (la postière) and the illiterate French housekeeper Sophie (la bonne), whose friendship propels the film suspensefully to its inevitable bloody climax.
Jacqueline Bisset also impresses, speaking in French as the wealthy family’s mother, the upper-class owner of a gallery, Catherine Lelievre, with Jean-Pierre Cassel as Georges Lelievre and Virginie Ledoyen as Melinda. The masterly, on-form Chabrol keeps a vice-like grip on pace, mood and plot.
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 4192
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