Triple Agent (Eric Rohmer). 125 min. Subtitled. Opens Friday (February 18). For venues and times, see Movies, page 90. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Enjoying an Eric Rohmer film is not unlike appreciating the emperor's new clothes. There are those who commend the new wave auteur for his subtle study of morality, his decision to put character and not plot in the forefront and his obvious disregard for showing when he can tell.
Then there are his detractors, who have no problem exposing the naked truth about Rohmer's bare-bones approach. As Gene Hackman famously uttered in Arthur Penn's Night Moves, "I saw a Rohmer film once. It was kind of like watching paint dry."
That critique would certainly apply to Rohmer's latest, Triple Agent , a spy thriller so lacking in suspense or thrills, it's hard to imagine it would keep even his most devoted fans awake.
Fiodor ( Serge Renko ) is a White Russian officer living in Paris with his wife, Arsinoé ( Katerina Didaskalu , the only thing worth watching here), before and during the Nazi occupation. He likes to talk about his anti-Communist beliefs. With her. With their upstairs neighbours. With his cousin. At parties. Man, can this guy talk. Oh, and so can everybody else. Without inflection. Without emotion. They talk. And when they don't (you pray for these moment), you get old newsreels and abrupt scene changes.
Triple Agent is like attending an insufferably boring dinner party. Still, at least there you have a chance at decent food. At this feast for the mind, you leave hungry.