Cinema: High-Wire Melodrama

LA RUPTURE

Directed and Written by CLAUDE CHABROL

In a movie by Claude Chabrol, evil is never discreet or dispassionate. Once his characters opt for bad behavior, it instantly becomes an obsessive preoccupation. They become positively fussy as they pat into place and hover anxiously over the development of plots against virtue and propriety that are self-satirical as well as self-defeating in their loony complexity. As a result, Chabrol's tragedies and near-tragedies almost always teeter on the edge of farce. In his best work, there is something of the fascination of a high-wire act.

Chabrol is close to his best in La Rupture,...

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