People are voting emotionally.
Let me be very fair here, this is not the best movie in my opinion. But, this movie is fun, it has purpose and is very enjoyable to watch.
By the time the dramatic fireworks start popping off, each one feels earned.
It is an exhilarating, distressing, funny and profound film, with one of the more memorable film scores in years,
I was very disappointed with this. Atkinson is a brilliant comedy performer but not a serious actor. His performance here was just passable. I wonder how many fine British and dare I say it French actors were passed over to give him this opportunity. I just couldn't take him seriously. However no doubt if Hollywood had made this film it would have starred Owen Wilson or Vince Vaughn so musn't really complain. The direction and production values were very good notwithstanding that the film was shot mostly in Budapest as you could tell when occasionally the camera would pan across a wall trying to evoke early post war Paris but instead showing us posters clearly written in Hungarian. What totally ruined the film for me was the decision to use primarily English actors with a variety of English accents. You would see portrayed a French bar and obviously great lengths had been taken to add a genuine air of authenticity so much so that you could almost smell the stale wine and the aroma of Gauloise cigarettes then someone would come in and order a "sous-citron" with an unmistakable mancunian accent.Very effective what Brecht called "Stimmungsbrechung" - mood breaking.Far better, I think, to have used French-speaking actors possibly with subtitles or at least some form of franglais a la Hercule Poirot. In fact, some of it was so ridiculous that it would only have needed Atkinson to roll his eyes or start mugging to camera and I would have fallen off my chair. I am ready to suspend a modicum of belief for the sake of drama but not my my entire intellect.
Maigret detective stories comprise just a small part of the immensely prolific Simenon's oeuvre. However, Georges Simenon is best known exactly because of the Maigret character. I've read Maigret stories since childhood, and early on I was fascinated not so much with the "clever" story lines and plots, but because of somewhat lazy and disorganized ways in which eponymous detective and his associates in general operate. This adaptation catches very good all the important traits of a Maigret novel. Dangerous and focused killer of women is on the loose in the Montmartre quartier, Paris is on the brink because nobody sleeps peacefully until he is captured, Maigret works hard but cannot find a breakthrough. His men know that nobody but him will find a murderer, but higher officials are asking for closure. So Maigret will have to embark on a dangerous cat and mouse game with the killer, in which other innocent lives will be put in danger. So far, for those not familiar with cool detective, nothing exceptional. But, everything is so Simenon, and so Maigret, that you enjoy the slow flow and unraveling of the many seemingly unimportant scenes and subplots in this very well crafted movie. There are poor and struggling families with small children that will loose their mother; there are inner courtyards where housekeepers lurk behind their curtains and labourers drag their tired feet. There are lots of basement wine bars with barrels and men nurturing their glass of wine, beer or cognac. There are lots of young hardworking women, all of them attractive in their cheap after war dresses and blouses. Some of them are telephone operators, some of them strippers and dancers, and there is entire police squad of brave young women ready to risk their lives on the dangerous streets of Paris, no questions asked. And of course, there are suspects, quirky aspiring upper middle class characters in their slick apartments, struggling to appear respectable but hiding terrible secrets. More hardboiled police officers, dungeons of Quay d'Orfevre full of shady alkoholics, drug users and other sinners. Journalists, thirsty of any information but some of them familiar of Maigret's way of operating. And, yes, in the middle is Maigret, the detective with his pipe who is never in hurry. Rowan Atkinson was somewhat surprising choice, but he did excellent work impersonating french detective. Recommendable!
I will highly rate this film for several reasons.First, this is George Simenon, a 1st class writer. Second : Rowan Atkinson understood the role, the character and the script.This is a Filme Noire at it's best. The fact that it involves murder is of little consequence, this is about character portrayal, this is a look into the reasoning and understanding of the personas of people and their solitudes, their anguishes, their souls, their darker depths..In my personal opinion Rowan Atkinson nailed Maigret in a contemporary format. He was subtle and did not overplay. My image of Rowan has completely changed, this man can act, he feels, sees and behaves his role.....But the film was not just Rowan Atkinson, it was an entire cast, it was a Mise En Scene as it should be... This is exemplary of what can still be done today outside of the glamour of Hollywood..Living in France I have obviously seen the Maigret films and episodes and this film in no way undermines not fails the originals...Well done to the screen writer, director and cast for producing a down to earth and deeper portrayal of what has become customary, well done for taking a step aside and giving us something to watch that goes beyond the superficial...Although this will never become a classic, it is definitely worth adding to any repertoire...
Well, I have seen the film. And I liked it. It's not a masterpiece and certainly not the best adaptation of Simenon I've seen, but it's good enough to entertain and satisfy those who missed watching Maigret. It succeeds in recreating the claustrophobic atmosphere of Simenon's novels, and even if the screenplay is a bit uneven at times, the overall result is very good. The production design is great, and Budapest looks perfect as Paris. The performances by the cast are all above average, but it's Rowan Atkinson who steals the screen every time he's on it. I've said it before and I'll say it again: his casting came as an absolute surprise to me, as I would never have thought of him as a possible Maigret. But the truth is he made the part his own. So much so that at a certain point I forgot the actor and saw only the character. Very, very good performance by Atkinson, proving he's much more than just a great comedian, he's a great actor. If you are looking for the best adaptation of this story, I suggest you get your hands on a copy of the 1958 french version "Maigret tend un piège", directed by Jean Delannoy and with the great Jean Gabin as Maigret (to me the best of them all, but that's me). But if all you want is to spend 90 minutes with Maigret and watch a well told and even better played story, then you could do worse than watch this one. I will certainly be looking forward for the next film in the series, "Maigret's Dead Man". Welcome back, M. Maigret!