Review: ‘Nobody Else but You’

A subversive and strange little film noir that's so strongly dominated by white hues -- whether peroxided or not -- that it could be dubbed a film blanc.

A Gallic crime novelist investigates the death of a Marilyn Monroe look-alike in “Nobody Else but You,” a subversive and strange little film noir that’s so strongly dominated by white hues — whether peroxided or not — that it could be dubbed a film blanc. Second feature from scribe-helmer Gerald Hustache-Mathieu (“Avril”) again combines wildly disparate elements, including a voiceover from beyond the grave, an oddly patterned detective story and an offbeat sense of humor. This Gallic twist on a Coen brothers-style film did OK biz locally in limited release and is a natural for fests.

Bestselling novelist David Rousseau (Jean-Paul Rouve) has writer’s block when he arrives in snow-covered Mouthe, population 961, in the French Alps. In town for a will reading (he inherits a stuffed pet), he becomes drawn in to the suicide of a local cheese-logo starlet and unnatural blonde (Sophie Quinton, in voiceover and flashbacks). Since things don’t add up, “James Ellroy,” as the local police call him, does a little sleuthing of his own. Audacious plot twists work because the thesps play everything 100% straight. Lensing and score add to the American genre-film vibe.

Nobody Else but You

France

Production

A Diaphana release of a Dharmsala presentation and production, in association with France 2 Cinema, with participation of Canal Plus, Cinecinema, France Televisions. (International sales: MK2 Intl., Paris.) Produced by Isabelle Madelaine. Directed by Gerald Hustache-Mathieu. Screenplay, Hustache-Mathieu, Juliette Sales.

Crew

Camera (color, Panavision widescreen), Pierre Cottereau; editor, Valerie Deseine; music, Stephane Lopez; production designer, Marie-Helene Sulmoni; costume designer, Pierre Canitrot. Reviewed at Cine Utopia, Luxembourg, Jan. 22, 2011. (In Berlin Film Festival -- market.) Running time: 103 MIN.

With

Jean-Paul Rouve, Sophie Quinton, Guillaume Gouix, Arsinee Khanjian, Olivier Rabourdin, Clara Ponsot, Eric Ruf, Lyes Salem, Nicolas Robin.

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