In 1989, accomplished French director Patrice Leconte finally burst onto the global cinema scene with his creepy character study, Monsieur Hire. About a voyeuristic tailor’s obsession with a beautiful neighbor, the film, shown at Cannes, was immediately hailed by both critics and press. Criticker users, too, have almost unanimously praised this seldom-seen film, earning it a place in our list of Neglected Gems.
Michel Blanc plays the titular Monsieur Hire. Blanc is normally known as a funnyman, but he turns in a deadly serious, almost dour performance here as an obsessive-compulsive outsider. M. Hire’s own life is arranged perfectly, and he’s completely untrusted as a weirdo by the community with whom he lives. He spends his free time peeping on the gorgeous Alice (Sandrine Bonnaire), with whom he will eventually unite. A body appears, as does Alice’s handsome and abusive boyfriend, and a series of plot twists and rising tension build to an extraordinary finale.
Patrice Laconte has gone on to become one of France’s most influential directors, achieving moderate success in the States with well-received films like Intimate Strangers and Man on the Train. In the swift-moving, straight-laced and entirely engaging Monsieur Hire, his powers has a filmmaker are at their height.