Thieves (Les Voleurs)
Director Andre Techine reunites his Ma Saison Preferee stars, Catherine Deneuve and Daniel Auteuil, as a philosophy prof and a nihilistic cop who share a petty-criminal lover named Juliette (Laurence Cote). When the cop discovers that Juliette was involved in the death of his car-thief brother, he must decide whether to risk his career to cover up her complicity. As this twisty amorality play shifts points of view and skips back and forth in time, the slippery narrative keeps you interested. So does the remarkable cast: Auteuil’s jutting features and gritty intensity suggest a Gallic Anthony LaPaglia, and Deneuve remains a radiant screen presence. But the extraordinary performance comes from preadolescent Julien Riviere as Auteuil’s startling but solemn cop-hating nephew. In the end, though, the script lets the actors down. The voice-over narration grows overripe (even in French, ”He was a spider, and I was in his web” is a cliche). And despite its intriguing premise, Thieves peters out in a maddening anticlimax. C’est la vie.