Release: 12 Dec. 03
BY: DAVID PERRY
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.