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The Flower Of Evil
cast: Nathalie Baye, Beno�t Magimel, Suzanne Flon, Mélanie Doutey, and Bernard Le Coq

director: Claude Chabrol

100 minutes (15) 2002
widescreen ratio 1.66:1
Arrow DVD Region 0 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Gary Couzens
François (Beno�t Magimel) returns home after three years studying in the USA. His stepmother Anne (Nathalie Baye) is standing for mayor in the local elections, but a leaflet has circulated accusing her family of collaboration with the Nazis, murder and incest. Meanwhile, François and his cousin Michèle (Mélanie Doutey) find that their old mutual attraction has revived. And what is Aunt Line's (Suzanne Flon) secret?

Claude Chabrol's 50th feature film, The Flower Of Evil (aka: La fleur du mal) is the third in a loose trilogy which anatomises the French upper classes, following La cérémonie and Merci pour le chocolat. It's not quite on the level of those films, but fans of Chabrol's films will know exactly what to expect. This is a suspense thriller rooted in character and plot revelations rather than gratuitous action. Of the directors associated with the French new wave, Chabrol has been the most prolific, mostly working in the mystery, crime and thriller genres like his idol Hitchcock, and after 50 feature films his style as become as slick as wet ice, helped no end by a strong cast.

The Flower Of Evil forms part of a six-film boxset, The Claude Chabrol collection: volume two, and is not at presently available separately (except as a region one disc). The other titles are The Road To Corinth (aka: La Route de Corinthe, 1967), The Breach, Pleasure Party (aka: Une partie de plaisir, 1975), Innocents With Dirty Hands (aka: Innocents aux mains sales, 1975) and Cop au Vin. The Flower of Evil is encoded for all regions and is anamorphic in a ratio of 1.66:1 with a Dolby surround soundtrack. The extras comprise the trailer, a three-minute introduction by Jo�l Magny (which contains plot spoilers) and a 25-minute making-of featurette. Optional English subtitles are available for the latter two.

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