Timely in its examination of Nazi sympathies within France, The Statement never delves too deeply into the pitch-black heart of its premise. Instead, it plays out like a drab middlebrow thriller. Pierre Brossard (Michael Caine), a former Vichy police officer and Nazi collaborator, has been avoiding his war crimes by hiding out in various safe houses and sanctuaries. Plagued with guilt and seeking repentance, this wily old monster goes on the run again, chased across the country by avenging assassins as well as a justice-seeking judge (Tilda Swinton) and her army escort (Jeremy Northam). Chock-full of British character actors (who don’t even bother tacking on false French accents) and directed with even-handed stateliness by Norman Jewison, The Statement is a political thriller without bite. Caine offers a few memorable moments as the mousy, grotesque killer, offering brittle prayers to the heavens at every turn, and shares a memorable scene with Charlotte Rampling, who stars as Brossard’s long-estranged wife. Just as you think this routine chase film might turn into a Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf with fascist undertones, Rampling disappears as fast as she arrived and The Statement pushes limply toward its inevitable moral-minded finale.
- Norman Jewison
- Ronald Harwood
- Michael Caine, Tilda Swinton, Jeremy Northam, Alan Bates, Charlotte Rampling, John Neville, Ciáran Hinds, Frank Finlay, Peter Wight
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