Peril (1985)

“You seem to be keeping bad company.”

In the French film Peril, classical guitarist David Aurphet (Christophe Malavoy) is employed by the extremely wealthy Tombsthay family to teach guitar to their teenage daughter, Vivianne (Anais Jeannerat). David has devoted his simple, impoverished life up until this point to his art. He lives in a large flat, with the minimum of furnishings, and in one scene, he opens the fridge and there’s just one egg inside. So when he lands the job with the Tombsthays teaching the precocious Vivianne 3 times a week in the splendid family mansion, David’s fortunes seem to be improving.

While David’s fortunes may improve with his new employment, his life becomes vastly more complicated. Mr. and Mrs. Tombsthay are a mismatched couple. Julia Tombsthay (Nicole Garcia) is young, beautiful, and ready to leap into an affair with the impoverished guitar teacher. Graham Tombsthay (Michel Piccoli) is much older, and seems somehow detached from his family. According to Julia, he is a violent man. Shortly after David becomes embroiled with the Tombsthay family, he also strikes up a relationship with their new neighbour Edwige Ledieu (Anemone)–an outspoken individual with voyeuristic habits. David also meets Daniel Forest (Richard Bohringer), a lonely man who claims to be a hit man.

Soon David, who appears to be an innocent and completely out of his depth, is involved up to his neck in intrigue, deceit, double-dealing, and blackmail. He’s surrounded by characters with voyeuristic and exhibitionistic tendencies, and no one is quite what they seem. David has to come up with a few tricks of his own. Peril–in French with English subtitles–is part drama, part mystery, and it’s good entertainment. By far the most fascinating character is the very peculiar Edwige–a unique and bizarre woman who plays a strange game of her own. From director Michel Deville.

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