A Conservative Euro MP living in Paris is threatened with blackmail by her husband's former business partner, and then throws him off a bridge. She then leaves her handbag at the scene and drags a young handsome designer into the mess.
David Hare, author of Plenty and director of Wetherby, describes Paris By Night as a film about "the lies people tell to convince themselves their actions are forgivable". It's probably the first film to centre around the warped love life of a Conservative Euro MP, not a breed previously noted for it's sensuality.
French resident Charlotte Rampling, in her first British role for 10 years, plays the above mentioned Clara Paige, who finds herself threatened with blackmail by her husband's former business partner. Initially she calls his bluff but when he apparently follows her to Paris, she reacts somewhat impulsively by tipping him off a bridge into the Seine.
Things spiral further out of control because she has left an incriminating handbag at the scene by the Seine and is force to enlist the help of handsome young designer Wallace Sharpe (Iain Glen) to untangle the mess.
With its convoluted plot, glaringly apparent red herrings and precise ration of violence, this contrived intellectual thriller seldom generates the level of suspense you'd expect. All that's left to hold the film together is Hare's acid assault on the morals of Thatcherism. A shame too, to waste the brilliant Michael Gambon in such a minor and thankless role, as Clara's drink-sodden and disillusioned husband Gerald.
Overly convoluted plot, glaringly apparent red herrings and a blatant misuse of the brilliant Michael Gambon in a contrived intellectual thriller that seldom generates the level of suspense required.