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This Man Must Die

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This Man Must Die, originally known as "Que la bête meure" in French, is a gripping thriller from 1969, directed by eminent French filmmaker Claude Chabrol. With an experienced cast that includes Michel Duchaussoy, Caroline Cellier, and Jean Yanne, the film finely blends fragments of a psychological drama with elements of a mystery thriller in the vein of classic French New Wave cinema.

Michel Duchaussoy stars as Charles Thenier, a successful children's book author who suffers an unimaginable loss when his young son is killed in a hit-and-run accident. The tragedy irrevocably shatters Charles' peaceful existence, plunging him into a nightmare of grief and despair. Unstable and grief-stricken, the initial sorrow of Charles gives way to an obsessive yearning for revenge, initiating an unremitting quest to find the person responsible for his son's accident.

The movie strategically shifts its focus from Charles' loss, pain, and initial shock to his raging determination to exact revenge for his son's death. Duchaussoy's performance is highly praiseworthy as he deftly captures the evolving emotional turmoil of his character, etching out a man besotted by grief and driven by vengeance.

Caroline Cellier portrays Helene, a woman placed in a complex entanglement of relationships and secrets. Caught between Charles' relentless pursuit of the truth and her duty to protect her family, she brings to the table a believable portrayal of a woman on the edge. Cellier's skilled portrayal of her character adds another layer of intrigue and tension to the narrative.

Jean Yanne, playing the role of Paul Decourt, brilliantly embodies a man whose dominance threatens to fracture his family's foundation. His complex character is pivotal to the narrative, contributing significantly towards escalating the suspense of the film.

Director Claude Chabrol is known for his abilities to unravel intricate relationships and chilling suspense, and this film is no exception. This Man Must Die is a masterful exploration of human nature's darker sides, serving complex characters, intricate plot twists, and psychological depth in intense quantities. Shot in beautiful French locales, Chabrol uses the naturalistic setting as a hauntingly ironic backdrop to the dark narrative, creating an unsettling contrast that raises this thriller to an aesthetic brilliance.

The unraveling of Charles' revenge plot forms the meat of the story, with Chabrol expertly building up to an intense climax. However, the director ensures that the movie is never about the thrill element alone. The social commentary on the family unit's sanctity, the exploration of guilt, and the question of justifiable revenge are themes that reverberate throughout the film. The subtlety with which Chabrol explores these heavy themes, aided by the performances of the lead actors, makes this a movie that leaves a strong impression.

At its heart, This Man Must Die is a movie about the human emotions that tragedy can awaken. It is a film about grief, revenge, and the lengths to which a man haunted by his child's unjust departure might go. It keeps its audience hooked from the first minute to the last, serving a suspenseful, engaging narrative interspersed with absorbing character studies and unnerving revelations.

The film, with its flawless direction, brilliant performances, and the engaging story, is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys French cinema doyen Claude Chabrol's work or thrillers with a generous dose of psychological drama. This Man Must Die is a finely crafted film that remains a significant entry in Chabrol's impressive filmography, leaving audiences with an intriguing puzzle to piece together long after the final credits roll.

This Man Must Die is a Drama, Thriller movie released in 1969. It has a runtime of 110 mins. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.6..

Claude Chabrol
Michel Duchaussoy, Caroline Cellier, Jean Yanne
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