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Diabolique keeps the audience on the edge of their seats


Diabolique was first made in 1955 as a suspenseful thriller with a surprise ending. Many movies have surprise endings, but not many are unpredictable. I never saw the original version, but it must have been good. This movie had a lot of plot twists and really surprised me. There was only one character that I didn't want in the movie, but she was very funny and provided some needed humor.

But that's one of the good things about the movie: it keeps a sense of humor while shocking us. The movie opens as Mia (Isabelle Adjani) is having a heart attack (or some other heart problem). Her husband, Guy (Chazz Palminerti), stands by and watches. Mia's friend, Nicole (Sharon Stone), saves her friend's life. However, Guy is cheating on Mia with Nicole. After the heart attack, Nicole decides to help Mia. She plots to murder Guy, and tells Mia about it.

At first, Mia is shocked, but Nicole convices her that Guy doesn't love her anymore and would rather watch her die. They go through with the murder and drown him in a bathtub. Unfortunately, after they ditch the body into the swimming pool in front of Mia's school (she owns it but Guy won't let her fix anything), they receive pictures of them transporting the body and find the suit he was wearing. If that isn't enough, now they have a detective on their case who just wants to help find Mia's husband.

Giving away any more of the plot would ruin it, and I haven't given any plot away that isn't written on the back of the rental box. The ending of the movie doesn't have just one surprise, it has several. When one was finished, another one was just around the corner. One of the biggest surprises doesn't have to do with the plot, but with the performances. Sharon Stone, who showed us she could act in Casino, gives a brilliant performance, though I don't think she'll get an Oscar nomination because many critics didn't like the film.

Among the other performances is Kathy Bates, who is always good. I didn't care for her character because I wanted Mia and Nicole to figure things out for themselves. Instead, the detective (Bates) figures things out, while talking about her family and lung cancer. I felt like she was just put it for some needed humor, which was also provided by Stone in some hilarious one liners. Chazz Palminerti is good, but doesn't do very much in the movie. Isabelle Adjani is a little strange and seemed out-of-place among these well-known names, but she proves that she can hold her own among these big stars with a very good performance.

Diabolique is rated R. The movie is scary and violent. There is a sex scene, but they are clothed and you don't see anything. However, there is another scene where Adjani is shown fully nude (frontal-side nudity). They could've done without that scene, but the producers think viewers like that (the box-office receipts prove otherwise). But movie goers did miss out on a suspenseful movie, filled with terror and a good plot. This is probably the best movie that no one saw since Cutthroat Island.

***1/2 out of ****

Reviews by Boyd Petrie
Movie Reviews