Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Merci Pour Le Chocolat (Nightcap) (2001)

Claude Chabrol, the most Hitchcockian of the New Wave directors, is at 70 not merely still working, but with this (his 53rd film) has made as many as his distinguished predecessor.

Mika (Isabelle Huppert) inherits a gloomy mansion near Lausanne after marrying André, (Jacques Dutronc) a concert pianist and recent widower with a son, Guillaume.

Then Jeanne (Anna Mouglalis), a young beauty, turns up on their doorstep with a story that Guillaume and she may have been given to the wrong families following a hospital confusion at birth. She is a talented pianist and soon André is tutoring her as a protegée.

After Jeanne discovers that some hot chocolate prepared by Mika for Guillaume has been heavily spiked with a sleeping drug, there is a suspicion that André's wife may have died following a similar concoction prepared by Mika.

As in Hitchcock's "Suspicion" we are led to suspect that the central character is not what she seems. Chabrol cleverly leads us in one direction after another, closing the way just when revelations are expected. So much seems to have occurred before the action of the film begins that it is almost as if we are watching a sequel to a fully-formed work. Isabelle Huppert excels as the enigmatic Mika and Anna Mouglalis is a stunning new young talent in one of Chabrol's most intense psychological mysteries. Noteworthy is the way Chabrol uses piano music, particularly Liszt's Funerailles, to heighten the atmosphere.

End Credits

Director: Claude Chabrol

Writer: Claude Chabrol, Caroline Eliacheff

Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Jacques Dutronc, Anna Mouglalis, Rodolphe Pauly, Michel Robin, Mathieu Simonet, Brigitte Catillon

Genre: Drama, Thriller, World Cinema

Length: 101 minutes

Cinema: 8 June 2001

Country: France

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