2ENTERTAIN Out Now
The verdict on the Rowan Atkinson version of the famous French detective.
The burly shadows of Rupert Davies and Michael Gambon loom large over the latest incarnation of Georges Simenon’s iconic detective – to the detriment, alas, of Rowan Atkinson, surely no one’s idea of a pipe-puffing chief inspector in the Paris Police Judiciaire. To his credit, the Bean star does endeavour to put his own ruminative, melancholic stamp on the character. The result is so understated, however, as to make him virtually invisible in a role that offers fleeting opportunities for Atkinson to flex his comic chops.
Luckily the two feature-length specials here – “Maigret Sets A Trap” and “Maigret’s Dead Man” – fare somewhat better in the villain department, whether it’s a mother-fixated killer of Montmartre prostitutes or a fur- clad ladies’ man living off the savings of slaughtered farmers.
The second, superior film also boasts an exciting shoot-out, not to mention a quiet moment of compassion – Maigret requesting that flowers be brought into a room where a mother awaiting execution lies with her newborn – that perhaps comes closest to capturing Georges Simenon’s peculiar blend of violent perversity and sombre moral rectitude.
Atkinson plays an intense, broodingmaigret... with no trace of faux French accent.