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Barracuda 1997
Description: This French-German-Belgian thriller, reminiscent of Misery (1990) and The Collector (1965), starts after Fred Astaire-fan Clement (Jean Rochefort) invites comic-book artist Luc (Guillaume Canet) to Sunday dinner with Clement and his wife Violette. Luc's girlfriend Margot announces her pregnancy, prompting Luc to forget about the invitation, but Clement insists that Luc join him. After Luc arrives and sees that Violette is only a life-size plastic doll, he decides to leave but gets clobbered on the head. Awakening, he finds he's been handcuffed to the bathroom sink and gagged. Cruelties ensue, with crazed Clement getting visionary tip from both Astaire and Violette. Award-winning composer-arranger-orchestrator Philippe Haim made his detail directorial debut with this drama, and melody is very much a part of the movie from Haim's score and music-box melodies to tap dancing, honky-tonk piano, and a full musical comedy production number.
Released: 29 Oct 1997 Director: Philippe Haïm Writers: Philippe Haïm, Marie Krüger, Nicolas Lartigue, Patrick Olivier Meyer Actors: Jean Rochefort, Guillaume Canet, Claire Keim, Michel Scourneau Genres: Drama, Thriller
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Barracuda Reviews:

I caught the beginning of this film late one night while flicking channels and found myself unable to stop watching… the storyline revolves around a young boy who moves in to an apartment with his pregnant girlfriend. Across the hall from him lives an old boy who invites him over for dinner, however the young boy declines few times before finally conceding. He joins the old boy for dinner, and quickly discovers that the old boy is insane (he sits a mannequin at the dinner table, saying the young boy that it's his wife). When he tries to leave however, the old boy knocks him unconscious and locks him in a secret compartment. The rest of the movie features the efforts of the young boy to hold his sanity and escape, and the ever-increasing cruelty of the old man.Overall, I really enjoyed the film. The lvl of cruelty served out by the lonely old boy is bone-chilling, but even so you can't support but feel a tiny sorry for the old boy as all he really wants is some company.**** out of *****


Beware of neighbors!That's Rosemary's story,and that's the tenant's story,two nice Polanski films.The camera tricks recall the Pole's style too."Barracuda" should have been filmed scene drama,since we do not go out of Rochefort's flat,but the director manages to give a cinematographic feel to it.Clement's hero is not that much original however:he is akin to Norman Bates and Chabrol's character in "les fantômes du chapelier"(1982).He has a fixation on Fred Astaire,and sometimes it's hard to see the connection with what he does.When he captures and confines Luc,it works and it's suspenseful ,but superficially.That's what's it's not really Hitchcockian:in the Master's best movies,the Freudian mother guidelines (see "notorious","strangers on a train","psycho","the birds" "Marnie")What's lacking here is Clement's psychology:why does he do that?because he wants a son?because his solitude has become too unbearable?because,he's grown embittered ?because he's a frustrated gay?Except for his tastes for musicals,and his wife's death,we know absolutely nothing from Clement and it takes all Jean Rochefort's talent to create it credible.Guillaume Canet is very efficient too,and it was not an simple task to enjoy opposite to such a veteran."Barracuda" is no masterpiece,but it's an interesting film for suspense buffs ,and ,in spite of an unsatisfying ending, it'll give you a nice share of scares.And if a fresh neighbor invites you in,think twice....


This is a movie that starts so quietly one might be tempted to discard it. But, hang on for a several more mins and you'll be rewarded by an intriguing and exciting storyline of a young boy caught up in the fantasies of a psychopath, an elderly boy who lives alone with a plastic replica of his deceased wife. It's a well-acted piece that holds you in its grip right to the end. It's almost a duologue with Luc (Gillaume Canet) and Clement (JEAN Rochefort) testing a series of "cat and mouse" scenes. All the another users have bit parts. Chained first to a bathroom washbasin and then to a steel post in his "own" room, Luc is at the mercy of fiendish Clement, a strange boy with a troubled mind and one who likes to dance like Fred Astaire. Luc of course is constantly struggling to escape and he uses each ruse under the sun including a psychological approach. The director in quite a several scenes uses an interesting technique which is fresh to me. First we see the outcome of a case played as Luc imagines it should be and then the script cuts to the true case which is often frustrating and hopeless with no possible solution. Be warned some of the scenes are violent. The old boy is cute active with a fire extinguisher as a lethal weapon and equally at ease with a hyperdermic. Whether you trust the storyline or not, I can say you it seems quite possible as one gets caught up in the action. If there's a message in the film, it's this: Never agree dinner appointments from strangers!



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