> Volume 6 > Number 10


Norman Jewison

Michael Caine
Tilda Swinton
Jeremy Northam
Alan Bates
Charlotte Rampling
John Neville
Ciarán Hinds

Release: 12 Dec. 03



Complacent like the stodgiest of intrigue thrillers, Statement feels like The Day of the Jackal if directed by a narcoleptic. Although the film does still offer the occasional glimpse of invention, the majority of this film is just a bore, with people chasing down an old Nazi supporter in the Vichy government who helped send French Jews to concentration camps. If not for being on the run, he’d be on social security by now -- no body should really care so much about this man. Is justice important, yes, but the police manpower expended in this film is more worthy of Francophobe jokes than any of those tired WWII surrender jokes.

Even still, Michael Caine is wonderful playing Pierre Brossard, the Frenchman the police and Jewish hit men are searching for. Based on a real Vichy collaborator named Paul Touvier who found a safe haven in the Catholic Church during his flight from the authorities, Brossard isn’t a particularly compelling figure, but Caine has the acting craftsmanship to make Brossard interesting. Even if the rest of the film feels too ridiculous to take seriously, Caine remains devoted to his art, which is certainly admirable when your art has given you roles in films like Miss Congeniality and Get Carter after you won the Oscar.

Directed by Norman Jewison, the film is neither joyous like the director’s Fiddler on the Roof, or overbearingly preachy like The Hurricane. The film resides somewhere in the director’s long list of mediocrities that range from Rollerball to Bogus. You’d swear someone else made the film if it wasn’t for how pedestrian it all is

©2004, David Perry,, 5 March 2004