Review - Le Bossu


Daniel Auteuil and Marie Gillain in Le Bossu

Daniel Auteuil and Marie Gillain in Le Bossu

 

 

 

Daniel Auteuil, Jean Reno, Gerard Depardieu. Where are the barrel-chested Brit equivalents to these beefy action men of the French cinema? But then, Brits are all gay, aren’t we? Take this fine, roistering spectacle, a dashingly charming entertainment in which Auteuil plays a D’Artagnan-like figure, all flashing swords and teeth. The story has been made into a film five times before, and is in the tradition of the Count of Monte Cristo – revenge is its beating heart – as it follows 18th century swordsman the Chevalier de Lagardère (Auteuil) through long patient years, disguise as a hunchback, political intrigue, love from an unexpected quarter, until he finally faces down the dastardly Gonzague (played by the brilliant boulevardier Fabrice Luchini), to avenge the death of his friend years before. It’s a bit of a sprawling rococo epic, with some nice contemporary touches thrown in – the surprisingly different attitudes of the able-bodied towards the hunchback (Bossu) of the title, for instance. Plus there’s sex – this is a French film – and some of the finest swordplay since Errol Flynn finally sheathed his weapon. Swashbucklers might not be fashionable and Auteuil might not be the first person you’d call if casting one, but the French take them seriously and in the stylish hands of seasoned director Philippe de Broca such objections can easily be swatted aside.

© Steve Morrissey 1998

 

Le Bossu (aka On Guard) – at Amazon 

 

 

 

 

User Rating:
Le Bossu
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imdb poster Le Bossu
Le bossu (1997)
Run time: 128 min
Rating: 6.9
Genres: Drama | Adventure
Director: Philippe de Broca
Stars: Daniel Auteuil, Fabrice Luchini, Vincent Perez
Trivia: The Comte de Gonzague schemes against his cousin, the Duc de Nevers, even though he is the Duke’s heir and will inherit his estates. The Count has kept secret the existence of the Duke’s … See full summary »
Storyline The Comte de Gonzague schemes against his cousin, the Duc de Nevers, even though he is the Duke’s heir and will inherit his estates. The Count has kept secret the existence of the Duke’s bastard, recently born. When the Duke learns of his child, he journeys to wed the mother, a baron’s daughter, in her father’s isolated chateau. The occupants of the castle are surprised and murdered by the Count and his men. The only ones to escape are the Duke’s friend, the skilled swordsman Lagardère, and the infant, a girl, now the rightful heiress to the Duke’s vast fortune. The Count believes the pair to have drowned, when in fact they have been concealed by a travelling troupe of Italian players. Twenty years pass. The Count has discovered that the two survive and seeks to have them slain. But Lagardère gains the confidence of the Count, and employment as his bookkeeper, through his clever disguise as a hunch-back… Written by David Carless
Plot Keywords: disguise, sword fight, revenge, fencing, older man younger woman relationship
Box Office Budget: $30,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: £29,802 (UK) (21 August 1998)
Gross: $96,750 (USA) (7 February 2003)