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The Bridesmaid

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Claude Chabrol (Merci Pour Le Chocolat) doesn’t like to settle. In fact, he likes to unsettle. In The Bridesmaid, his adaptation of Ruth Rendell’s crime novel — about a sheltered young builder’s assistant (Benoit Magimel) bewitched by his sister’s mysterious bridesmaid (Laura Smet) — he foments an ominously creepy atmosphere by delicately insinuating infatuation-driven choices into a mundane world. Smet wrangles a sense of live-wire menace behind an unruffled mask, such that the feeling of impending eruption is exquisite, and Magimel manages to make outlandish choices feel relatable. Prepare to be provoked, but prepare to like it.

EXTRAS A shambolic on-set doc catches Chabrol gleefully creating dialogue that ends up word-for-word in the film, dishing with his crew over American filmmakers’ lack of subtlety (”They’d write 14 memos”), and evincing pride at making ”the audience smile when they don’t feel like it.” In a printed interview, he asserts that ”the family is one of the biggest frauds ever invented” and that ”plot is not terribly significant. I try to get it out of the way in the first reel.” A-