An adaptation of Jim Thompson’s 1964 novel Pop. 1280, Tavernier’s film is a darkly humorous satire that transplants noir tropes to colonial Africa, where the local colonial French police officer, Lucien Cordier (Philippe Noiret), is the laughing stock of his village.  Noiret is wonderful here, gaining revenge on those who have ridiculed him.  His deliberately affected goofy attitude works to his benefit when no one suspects him of the diabolical murders.  The subversive turns of events is enhanced by Philippe Sarde's jazzy score and Tavernier’s baroque camera movements.  As Noiret’s mistress, Huppert exudes an ever dreamy sensuality perfectly in keeping with the film’s sultry overtones.

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