This new release is the fifth film by French director Éric Barbier, but the first that I’ve seen. It’s a heist movie set in Paris and Antwerp, starring Yvan Attal as a safecracking jewel thief and Bérénice Bejo as the exhibitor / seller of a 137-carat diamond, and it spends a lot of time following time-worn heist movie tropes, i.e. we get the scene in which several men (it’s always several men) sit around in a dark, smoke-filled room (it’s always a dark, smoke-filled room) overcomplicating the mechanics of the robbery plan (they always overcomplicate the mechanics of the robbery plan) before the heist itself segues into an aftermath of deceit and double-crossing (the heist itself always segues into an aftermath of deceit and double-crossing). Barbier struggles to settle on a clear tone as he lurches from comedy to action, and somewhat inevitably a splash of romance is thrown into the mix when the two main characters sleep together and miraculously fall in love overnight, thereby jeapordising the smooth running of the operation. Sometimes heist films can go through all the motions and still be thoroughly entertaining – look no further than the so-smugly-confident-you-can’t-help-but-buy-into-it Oceans Eleven remake for evidence – but sadly The Last Diamond is a dreary affair until the heist takes place. Things pick up briefly during said theft, and a subsequent daring attempt to recover the diamond from murderous bad guy Scylla (Antoine Basler), but the rest of the film is about as thrilling as watching someone fill out a tax return. Hopeful viewers looking to the co-stars to spice up the material will be disappointed: both leads deliver flat performances and make for an unlikely romantic pairing.
Directed by: Éric Barbier.
Written by: Éric Barbier, Marie Eynard, Trân-Minh Nam.
Starring: Yvan Attal, Bérénice Bejo, Antoine Basler, Isaka Sawadogo, Jean-François Stévenin.
Cinematography: Denis Rouden.
Editing: Jennifer Augé.
Music: Renaud Barbier.
Running Time: 106 minutes.