review for One Deadly Summer on AllMovie

One Deadly Summer (1983)
by Craig Butler review

Widely celebrated in its native France, One Deadly Summer has not received the notice it is due in many other parts of the world. A tale of obsessive vengeance in which things are not always quite what they seem to be, and in which illusion often butts heads quite forcibly with reality, Summer is an absorbing, occasionally disturbing film that rewards audiences who give it their full attention. While Summer is at times a bit too manipulative, it's so engrossing that most viewers won't mind the manipulation. Jean Becker's direction is a winning combination of the typical "Hollywood" mystery style with the more restrained, vaguely unfocused French arthouse style. This causes a few stops-and-starts, but these "uncertainties" somehow seem appropriate for a film that explores a certain truth that may not be quite so true after all. Summer also boasts another stunning performance from Isabelle Adjani, one of her patented "mad" turns. She's tread some of this road before (and would again later), but she manages to find new, fascinating variations on madness, and captures the sexiness, determination, vulnerability and obsessiveness of the character perfectly. (She's also, for the record, frequently to be found in states of rather extreme undress.) Suzanne Flon is also in top form, but the surprising performance comes from singer Alain Souchon, who is just about perfect as the man with whom Adjani becomes involved.