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Motley Movie Archives: This Man Must Die

by Max Gosselin-Ildari on March 23, 2011.

The prolific French filmmaker Claude Chabrol began his illustrious career before the French New Wave and continued his vocation up until his death this year. He was known for his murderous art and compelling style.

“This Man Must Die” is the story of a man, Charles, whose son is killed in a hit and run. Charles, now cold and alone, must track down the man who committed the crimes of murder and cowardice.

Chabrol’s camera does not stop moving. But unlike the unmotivated, sloppy, handheld, ADD-enhancing camerawork of, lets say The Bourne Triology, Chabrol’s cinematography is deliberate and fluid. We swim from shot to shot craving the final destination of each elongated motion.

The film’s genre can be called a thriller; through calculated pacing and a master’s control of kinesis we are absorbed into a man’s vulturous hunt for his life’s scourge. A visceral thriller no doubt.

Tension created by color contrast is salient. Chabrol commands the dramatic mood of each scene with an expansive pallet akin to few others. And not to take another cheap shot on contemporary mainstream American film and television (only a formal diatribe will do), but it seems today’s unimaginative directors and producers find contentment with the artificial look of post-production color grading; the nauseating blue and orange color scheme can be found everywhere. With this I say thank you to the TV show “Community” and its attempt at bringing real color back to the visual arts’ silliest form.

Lastly, its important to note that if there was a prize for Best Title in Cinema, “This Man Must Die” would win instantly. So if for no other reason, check out the movie for its name.


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Max Gosselin-Ildari