In The Shadow of Iris

The sudden disappearance of a wealthy banker’s wife cracks open a dizzying world of secret fetishes, desperate acts and elaborate deceptions.

Year: 2016
Certificate: 18
Director: Jalil Lespert
Starring: Jalil Lespert, Romain Duris, Adel Bencherif, Charlotte Le Bon, Camille Cottin, Sophie Verbeeck, Hélène Barbry

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Guest Reviewer: Chris Lodge [twitter] [website]

“Iris” (or “In The Shadow of Iris” as it is known in the UK) is a twisty little French thriller from actor and occasional director Jalil Lespert (whose main claim to fame behind the megaphone is the biopic “Yves St Laurent”).

Casting himself as a shady banker, he involves an impoverished client who is barely making a living running a garage and who will jump at the chance to make a few Euros. In this case several thousand! The garage owner is played very effectively by Romain Duris who you might have seen as the suave séducteur in “Heartbreaker” or the boss in “Populaire “but you will barely recognise him here as the dishevelled mechanic the wrong side of 40 and separated from the mother of his young son.

There are elements of both “Strangers On A Train” and “Eyes Wide Shut” but, other than to say that nothing is quite as it seems from the outset, any further description will stray quickly into spoiler territory.

This elegantly shot Paris-set tale harks back to the film noirs of the ‘50s, thus a mysterious Femme Fatale is obligatory and the bilingual French Canadian actress, Charlotte Le Bon (“The Hundred Foot Journey”, “Suite Française”) fits the bill rather well but you’ll need to follow very closely as the plot frequently leads you up the garden path where she is concerned (although there’s something of a hint in the UK title).

This is Lespert’s fourth film as a director and an earlier effort “Headwinds” (“Des vents contraires”) with Audrey Tautou is also available on Netflix in many territories. However this is more reminiscent of “Tell No One” (“Ne le dis a personne”) – Guillaume Canet’s masterful 2006 adaptation of Harlan Coben’s novel in which Lespert played a supporting role.

Never less than intriguing, this is a neat and stylish thriller which opened in French cinemas in November 2016 but elsewhere is downloadable as a Netflix Original and is ideal for home viewing if you’re not averse to subtitles.

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!

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