another clouzot masterpiece. i’ll put this and diabolique up against any two hitchcock films…they’re that good. certainly a visionary and uncompromising piece – the ending was especially good and probably wouldn’t be accepted by most modern audiences. the setting and overall scope of the picture borrow plenty from ‘the treasure of the sierra madre.’ treasure is a tighter film with a more obvious main theme, however both are layered in that they deal not only with the results of greed, but also with interpersonal dynamics – on the micro level (as seen between the four men we follow for most of the film) and on the macro level (as evidenced by the presence of the american oil company versus the indigenous laborers trying to unionize). what makes it so successful, for me, is that those things are in the background…the story and characters are in the foreground. just as is true in “skins”…the issues of culture or greed or differing life philosophies are present, but are a layer or two beneath the plot and characters. though a bit slow at the beginning, the film is nicely paced overall – it gives you time to look beneath the basics of the film, but keeps you interested all the while in what is going to happen next. that is, the plot and characters will carry you through the film just fine, but if you choose to examine things more closely you are given space to do that. i hadn’t seen a clouzot film until this month, but now that i’ve seen two i’m hooked…this guy tells good stories, builds suspense about as well as i’ve seen, and knows how to end a film. fyi: this was a review for the 148 minute unedited version, not the 138min us version.