Directed by Patrice Leconte. France. 1992.

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Here is a backlash to the women's movement provided in the form of a comedy. The humour is very much in the form of the cliche about the opposite sex, "you can't live with them and you can't live without them." 

The opening sequences are bright and colourful with plenty of action. Paul (Thierry Lhermitte) is shown as a daredevil who races in his yellow Beetle convertible and skywrites messages to his wife in his biplane. 

On the ground his wife (Miou-Miou) is occupied with extramarital action. Paul finds out about this and quickly gets his revenge. First, he uses his aircraft to force his wife's lover to crash his car. Then he takes his wife for a ride, and casually informs her that he has cut her seat-belt just before he executes a loop-the-loop. The lover's death in a ball of fire as his car rolls across a field, and the wife falling from the aircraft are the blackest parts of the film, otherwise the humour is generally about the war between the sexes. 

Paul is put on trial but he is found not guilty of both murders. Having set the stage, we are shown Vincent (Richard Bohringer) who is a habitual flirt. His wife, not unsurprisingly, isn't very pleased about the situation and walks out on him. 

Vincent cannot live with the thought that his wife can live happily and independently of him. His uncle (Phillippe Noiret), a confirmed bachelor full of worldly wisdom, suggests that she is murdered so that he can try to regain his psychological freedom. 

To carry-out this task, Paul is blackmailed into becoming their hit man. Now the film becomes a buddy/road movie as the three men go in pursuit of the straying wife. 

There are several entertaining jokes about male behaviour but generally the humour is at the expense of women. Women are regarded as things that have to be owned or destroyed. The men are like jackdaws who simply collect women who attract their attention at that particular moment. Yet, there is the contradictory impulse to establish a more permanent relationship. In their murderous quest the men enjoy their own company and the freedoms from the civilising influence of women, but this is a temporary situation that only the uncle wishes to maintain. 

Rather than explore sexual relationships this is a wallow in misogynistic values. Despite the action and colourful scenery it is a ignorant, irresponsible and ultimately depressing view of human relationships. 

Nigel Watson
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