Run time: 88 mins
He’s the unassuming hero of 75 books and many more short stories; it’s hard to think of many fictional characters who have made a bigger impact on the French national psyche than Inspector Maigret.
Patrice Leconte delivers a delectably melancholy portrait of the titular police inspector as he attempts to identify a young murder victim in 1950s Paris. In search of a possible motive, Maigret endeavours to put a name on a 20-year-old provincial orphan found dead in a designer dress whose. The ensemble cast is excellent across the board with Gerard Depardieu the methodical, ever-observant centre of gravity in a tentacular case that seems to mean more to the chief inspector than is customary for a man in his line of work.
There will be viewers who yawn at the old-fashioned craftsmanship on display in Maigret. But what’s on screen is old-fashioned storytelling in the best possible tradition, made relevant by themes of privilege, class, power, aspiration and tenacious loyalty that aren’t going away anytime soon. It is intentionally minimalist; it disregards sensation. All that matters is the truth, and lost human beings. It is a quiet triumph.