'The Blue Room' is an art film wannabe

( Unrated ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

'Blue' stars director and co-writer Mathieu Amalric and Stéphanie Cléau in what could have been a taut little thriller.

Alfama Films
'The Blue Room' stars Stéphanie Cléau (l.) and Mathieu Amalric (r.).

Georges Simenon’s 1964 novel “The Blue Room” has been fashioned by co-writer, director, and star Mathieu Amalric into a moody noir that, if it were filmed less fancily, might have been a taut little thriller instead of an art film wannabe. Amalric plays Julien, a married tractor salesman who has a series of hotel trysts with the lankily sensual, enigmatic Esther (Stéphanie Cléau, who also co-wrote the screenplay). Did I mention those trysts take place in a blue room?

Amalric throws in flashbacks and flash-forwards between bedroom and courthouse (yes, there’s a murder), and I was reminded again why I prefer my noirs in the hardboiled American style rather than tricked up with all this faux Alain Resnais-style filigree. Grade: C+ (Unrated.)

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