Confidentially Yours (1983)

Genres - Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Mystery, Psychological Thriller  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - France  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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François Truffaut's last film is a homage to Hitchcock. The director had long been an admirer of Hitchcock's work, and the two men collaborated on a volume covering Hitchcock's life and work, Hitchcock/Truffaut, which became one of the first texts to seriously analyze a director's films, and one of the most sumptuously illustrated coffee-table books of the late '60s. Truffaut's career is marked with numerous homages to Hitchcock, perhaps none more transparent than his relatively early film The Bride Wore Black (La Mariée Était en Noir, 1968), which is tellingly one of the least successful of his films. With Confidentially Yours, Truffaut was returning to the very safe territory of the gangster melodrama, crossed with a love story, almost as if the film were a Claude Chabrol project, rather than a Truffaut film. When Julien Vercel (Jean-Louis Trintignant) is suspected of murder, his secretary, Barbara Becker (Fanny Ardant), must work to clear his name. Shot in muted black-and-white, the film clearly harkens back to Truffaut's love affair with American detective thrillers of the 1940s and '50s, and is a pleasant enough way to kill an afternoon. But in the end, the film is deeply inconsequential, a commercial project that ultimately could have been made by any one of a dozen directors. It's sad that Truffaut went out with such a conventional project, but perhaps at this point it was too much to hope for more.