Today: February 21, 2024

Partners In Crime

French director Pascal Thomas creates a bizarre and almost successful merging of the English chocolate box world of Agatha Christie stories with the zany world of French comedy with Partners in Crime.

director Pascal Thomas creates a bizarre and almost successful merging of the
English chocolate box world of Agatha Christie stories with the zany world of
French comedy with Partners in Crime.
This is Thomas’s fourth adaptation of Christie’s short
stories about super sleuth man and wife duo, Bélisaire and Prudence Beresford,
this time with ‘The Case of the Missing Lady.’

Following 2008’s Crime
is Our Business
, Andre Dussollier
and Catherine Frot return as the
loveable, danger-loving Beresfords.
At first glance you may assume this mid-life couple to be somewhat
sedate but actually they are young at heart with plenty of energy and daring. They come from a circus life with
Prudence a former acrobat and Bélisaire a former escape artist who never
reveals his techniques: both handy
skills to have when chasing criminals.
The film kicks off with the couple in a state of semi-retirement, with Bélisaire
soaking up the recognition and attention from fans at an event celebrating his
new autobiography which outlines some of his escapades. Prudence watches from a distance, happy
for her husband yet disgruntled at being eliminated from the book. Wilful and independent, she is bored of
a life which lacks the adventure she is used to. Craving excitement, she forms
a detective agency, persuading her husband to come along for the ride. Soon they are on the case of a missing
Russian heiress and embroiled in a plot surrounding a mysterious countryside
spa and plastic surgery clinic for those who are hankering after their youth.

Partners in Crime takes its inspiration from many a
movie. The Beresfords appear as comical,
older versions of Cary
and Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember. Bélisaire is suave and well-dressed and even comments on his
desire to have a dimple on his chin exactly like Grant’s while Prudence is full
of energy and poise, often dressing in 1950s style. The film has the quirks of French comedies like Diner de Cons (which Frot also starred
in), but it also has the feel of British slapstick comedy, reminiscent of Inspector Clouseau, Ealing and Carry On films (with Prudence even having her memory jogged by a
spanking). The locations of grand
estates and the open countryside have the mystery of those in Hammer films whilst retaining a kind of
Agatha Christie English backdrop of scenery with extravagant dining and elegant
clothes. While there is an
abundance of madcap antics and hilarious references (including a moment when a
post-surgery gentleman walks past looking something like The Invisible Man), the film is somewhat lacking in drama and
suspense. The plot begins to drift
in favour of the comedy and only pops back in at those moments where it is most
required. That said the comedy
does go some way to making up for this, providing a satirical commentary on
ageing couples, the prospect of approaching your twilight years and just what could
happen if you got your hands on a fountain of youth formula.

Thomas’s outlook on Christie’s crime-busting series does not
quite top that of its British counterparts with the 1983 television series of
the same name with Francesca Annis
and James Warwick in the lead roles
(but as newlyweds). If you are
looking for a riveting, suspenseful whodunit then Partners in Crime is not the
film to go for, but it is a cheeky, entertaining little crime caper with two
very watchable leads and plenty of laughs.

Misha Wallace - Social Media Editor

From the age of 4, Misha Wallace became transfixed by movies like Halloween and The Birds from behind the couch, unbeknownst to her family. This has developed in to an obsession with fantasy and horror films (and a considerable number of cheesy 80s and 90s flicks – but she will not be judged). If she was a character in a film she'd be the girl at the end of a horror movie, doused in blood but grinning victorious. Email: or find her any time of the day or night on FilmJuice social media.

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