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Towards Zero (L'Heure Zero)

4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A dazzling mix of shocking family drama, picturesque seaside landscapes and three generations of brilliant French actresses - the luminous Chiara Mastroianni, sexy ingénue Laura Smet and grand dame Danielle Darrieux - Towards Zero (L'Heure zero) is a smart, smoldering and thrilling update of one of Agatha Christie's most enduring works.

When Guillaume has the bizarre idea of inviting his ex-wife Aude (Chiara Mastroianni) to a family reunion at the luxurious coastal estate of his wealthy Aunt Camilla (Danielle Darrieux), his tempestuous new wife Caroline (a delicious Laura Smet) becomes filled with rage. Guillaume hopes that they'll become friends but the two women despise one another. But things turn ugly when Camilla is found dead in her bedroom - and only the trusty Inspector Bataille can put together the pieces. But as the Inspector untangles her mysterious death, he also begins to unearth dark family secrets, brewing jealousies, and perhaps even a murderer in their midst.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Pascal Thomas
  • Directors: Pascal Thomas
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: KimStim
  • DVD Release Date: August 3, 2010
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003JMJ5XY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,962 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Towards Zero (L'Heure Zero)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 30, 2011
Format: DVD
TOWARDS ZERO (L'heure zéro) Is the updated French version of Agatha Christie's 1944 novel by François Caviglioli, Clémence De Bieville, Roland Duval and Nathalie Lafaurie as directed with style and panache by Pascal Thomas. Instead of England the action is transferred to the breathtaking beauty of Brittany, France. Not only does the magic of Christie's mystery remain intact, but it is enhanced by the significant rugged coastlines of the area (captured beautifully by cinematographer Renan Pollès) as the setting for the mansion overlooking the sea where the action takes place.

Guillaume Neuville (Melvil Poupard), the favored relative and heir to Aunt Camilla (Danielle Darrieux) who in her declining years lives in the Brittany estate under the care of Marie-Adeline ( Alessandra Martines) and her servants Heurtebise (Paul Menthe) and Emma (Valériane de Villeneuve) - the latter two making one of the finest comedy teams on film, comes to visit his aunt with his current wife Caroline (Laura Smet) while also inviting his mysterious former wife Aude (Chiara Mastroianni). Aunt Camilla favors the Aude, a fact that throws the tempestuous and obnoxious Caroline into tantrums. There is considerable background history of this family and friends that gradually all comes together in the end. But the incident that triggers the story is the murder of Aunt Camilla, an act that leaves nearly everyone in the full house as a suspect.

Enter Le commissaire Martin Bataille (François Morel), who goes about his investigation singing a tune created from the names of Agatha Christie's famous detectives - Hercule Poirot, Miss Marples, and, oddly, Colombo.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Towards Zero (L'Heure zero) is a nice, surprisingly faithful adaptation of Agatha Christie's novel. The plot involves a house party with plenty of hidden jealousy and back-biting. First a dinner guest dies from apparently natural causes, then a woman is brutally murdered. The question is, are these deaths simply leading up to something bigger?

The acting in this movie is uniformly good. The tone is not as constant, with the drama occasionally undercut by the "humor" of the servants. There's also a strange band of musicians wandering about the countryside on a roaming carousel, for reasons I don't fully understand, but maybe the director just had some friends looking for work. This film is unrated; I should note that the violence is minimal, even with the murder. There is a brief topless scene (which is actually used for character development rather than titillation), and there is an implied sexual encounter, although nothing is seen. The English subtitles are very well-done: large, easy to read, and in sync with the actors.

All in all, this is a well-done cozy mystery and a fine way to spend a couple of hours.
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I was thrilled to find this Agatha Christie genre in a French movie with some of my favorite French stars, the grande dame Danielle Darrieux and rising star Melvil Poupaud. Of course, the French nuances make it more interesting when you compare it with a BBC Anglophone treatment of a murder mystery. A real treat for this Francophile.
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If you like suspense right up to the end then this is a movie for you. The French subtitles are a little fast but otherwise a good rental.
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Format: DVD
This is a stylish, smart, gorgeously photographed remake of a famous Agatha Christie mystery. The cast is all first rate, the setting--the Brittany coast--is spectacular, the house is wonderful and there are even some comic additions, mostly from the two servants. I haven't seen the original British film but I can't imagine that it could be any better than this. I recommend it for two hours of good entertainment.
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