Place Vendome review

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Oozing style and substance in every scene, the ageless, elegant Catherine Deneuve shines in this cerebral French thriller.

She plays Marianne, a Parisian widow who inherits her diamond-jeweller husband's business while his former partners are trying to take over. But Marianne has been suffering from alcoholism since the end of an age-old love affair with another jeweller, so the business isn't exactly in safe hands. And when she discovers seven diamonds hidden by her husband, she suddenly finds herself thrown into a deadly situation...

Sharp dialogue, noirish cinematography and peerless ensemble acting abound in this chilling study of greed, passion and vengeance. The sustained drama builds through a sequence of unexpected plot twists, leading to a supercharged and far from expected denouement. Burnt-out Hollywood execs take note: this dazzling, intelligent and Byzantine thriller is grade-A source material for yet another (predictably inferior) US remake. Deneuve won Best Actress at the '98 Venice Film Festival for the role. That many Italians can't be wrong.

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