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THE STATEMENT

Norman Jewisonís adaptation of Brian Mooreís novel is a collection of statements. First, as stated in the opening epigraph, that the Vichy government collaborated with the Nazis in World War II and that some of those collaborators escaped and others rose to power. Second, as stated in a black-and-white flashback, that a young Frenchman named Pierre Brossard (who speaks English in the unmistakable and disquieting tones of Michael Caine) assisted the Nazis in the murder of seven Jews in 1944. Third, as stated in the filmís earnest, graceless exposition, that Pierre Brossard escaped justice for almost 40 years, partly under the protection of a right-wing Catholic religious order. Next, that idealistic Judge Annemarie Livi (Tilda Swinton, looking idealistic) and world-weary gendarme Colonel Roux (Jeremy Northam, looking weary) want to get to the bottom of all this. Finally, as stated by the subtitled place names ("Marseilles, Southern France" "Rome, Italy"), that the investigation is led on a merry chase as the conspiracy unravels and the puffing, weasly but wily Brossard escapes the pursuit of mystery assassins and the police. Oh, and then thereís the whole guilt-and-retribution thing. Not that Iím expecting The Sorrow and the Pity here, but Jewison has jettisoned any moral insight or ambiguity (Iím sorry, Caine clutching a St. Christopher medal or Swinton looking steely-eyed wonít do) for a by-the-numbers third-rate thriller. Final statement on The Statement: disregard it. (120 minutes)


Issue Date: January 16 - 22, 2004
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