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The Watchmaker Of Saint-Paul Review

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A clockmaker's world is shattered when the police inform him that his son is on the run from with his girlfriend in tow after killing someone. Rather than hinging on the exciting chase of the son, we stay with his father and follow him as he goes through various mood changes reflecting on his son's actions.

★★★★

A quizzical early hit from Tavernier, spotlighting a couple of players soon to become ubiquitous in French cinema. Noiret is a jovial clock-mender in a small town who is prompted to reassess his whole life when police Inspector Rochefort turns up to inform him that his slightly estranged son has committed a murder and gone on the run with a girlfriend.

Taking an unusual angle on a familiar story, this stays away from the fleeing couple and refuses to explain the original crime, concentrating on the changing attitudes of the bewildered but devoted father and the strangely sympathetic cops who include him in their investigation. The resolution, with Noiret finally establishing a rapport with his imprisoned son, is oddly affecting, and there is a lot of quiet strangeness along the road.

Those expecting the film to follow the on-the-run son will be disappointed as the film turns into an emotionally-driven piece about re-bonding over familial crises. Noiret gives a moving performance of the father who, originally confused at his son's actions, begins to re-connect with him.

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