On New Year’s Eve in a small French town, a weary, hard-boiled police inspector (the great Lino Ventrua) brings in a wealthy, influential local attorney (the equally great Michel Serrault) for questioning in regard to the rape and murder of two young girls. Over the 24 hours that follow–under French law, the legally allowable period to hold someone for questioning without formally charging them with a crime–the cop puts the squeeze on the suspect, who defiantly maintains his innocence. In this clockwork, claustrophobic thriller (shot almost entirely on a single set), director Claude Miller (A Secret) never lets the audience off the hook, shifting our loyalties to and fro with each new revelation. Is Serrault guilty as charged or the victim of an overly zealous cop hellbent on leaving no loose ends? Only time will tell. With Romy Schneider as Serrault’s put-upon wife. NOT ON DVD.
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