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The film has been compared to Hitchcock, because Monsieur Hire keeps watching his sexy Neighbor, Sandrine Bonnaire from his window, voyeurism ala Rear Window, but I think the comparison is not totally justified.
Monsieur Hire, first and foremost is a character study of a very sad, misunderstood by all and very very lonely man. All the events that follow, up to the climatic ending, which I will not spoil, revolve around Monsieur Hire's character and failings as a human being and in society at large.
His obsession with Bonnaire is quite chilling, yet harmless. It is the love of a man who has closed himself to the world outside, and can only deal with his infatuation the only way he knows. And the sad thing about him, is the fact that his emotions are very transparent and lead to exploitation by some and hostility by many.
The success of the film is due of course to director Patrice Leconte..(he has made many other films, like Hairdresser's Husband, Rue de Plaisir, and Parfum D'Yvonne, but Monsieur Hire is still his best)..Sandrine Bonnaire, in the tradition of French actresses, is very intense and plays her character flawlessly..But all credit should go to Michel Blanc! What a revelation of an actor!!
Many have talked and written about Hoffman or DeNiro's acting methods, but one should really watch actors like Blanc to really appreciate 'method' acting! He is Monsieur Hire and Monsieur Hire is him. He does not play the character but is the character. He does not speak much, but his facial expressions speak volumes.Read more ›
Monsieur Hire is the perfect suspect. Nobody likes him. Conversations die away when he passes by. Children play tricks on him. He sleeps very little. He never uses the lights. He sits in the dark in his room. And he likes to watch... So, naturally, when a young girl is found murdered, Hire finds himself put under the microscope, both by the strange detective who regularly humiliates him in the course of his investigation and the girl he spies upon who suddenly confronts him, with very unexpected results.
Patrice Leconte's film is one of those remarkable career turnarounds that defy expectations. Best known at the time for his unashamedly populist French comedies, Monsieur Hire is the equivalent of the director of Adam Sandler films suddenly having a stab at The Girl With the Pearl Earring and actually getting it right. His adaptation of a half-remembered Georges Simenon novel (literally: when he finally got the rights, no-one could find a copy of the novel to work from!) works both as a spellbinding piece of pure filmmaking and an intriguing drama about the difference between watching and comprehending. Hire may think he knows almost everything about his neighbor Alice because he has watched her so closely, but seeing and understanding are not always the same thing, as he himself reveals when he tells one of the whores he visits the story of a popular old lady who fed the pigeons breadcrumbs: because of her kindly face, people never realised that in fact she was poisoning them.
Above all, it's a very sensual film. Not in any erotic sense, although there is a charge when Hire finally allows himself to touch another human being.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There's always something about French cinema. Melancoly feeling perhaps. Espetially Patrice Leconte's movie. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Hee Chul Kwon
This is my all time favorite French foreign mystery thriller film. It's subtle, but beautifully written and acted. Read morePublished 19 months ago by R. Ternoir
OK, I got thrown for a loop when the copy I received was from the Seattle Public Library but I was assured by the seller that it was otherwise. Read morePublished 19 months ago by SBecker
Very much enjoyed this story of unrequited love, deception and misplaced suspicision. I'll definitely be watching more films in this genre.Published on March 3, 2014 by Max J. Strubel
This is another of those marvelous French movies with a great cast and a quirky plot that convince me they make the best movies around.Published on February 12, 2014 by Honest Abe
About a lonely face-in-the-crowd guy with his work (tailor) and little else. No normal, spontaneous, interpersonal relations. Read morePublished on December 2, 2013 by Fmaxrobs
Personally, I think this film is simply brilliant.
Now I see there are other reviewers who deal with it with far more words, so I'll be brief. Read more