Who Killed Bambi? aka Qui a tué Bambi? (2003) – movie review

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Movie Review by Jonathan Harvey

Starring: Sophie Quinton, Laurent Lucas, Catherine Jacob, Yasmine Belmadi

Director: Gilles Marchand

The ‘Bambi’ of the title, in this medical thriller from director Gilles Marchand, is Isabelle (Sophie Quinton), a beautiful nursing student suffering from bouts of fainting at the hospital. It’s for this reason that suave, respected surgeon Dr. Philipp (Laurent Lucas) gives her the nickname, seeing as she’s unable to keep her footing, just like the famous Disney character. It turns out, though, that Philipp has a much less respectable habit, in the form of his treatment of patients at night.

This is the directorial debut of Marchand, who’s already carved out a successful career as a writer (notably on the thriller HARRY, HE’S HERE TO HELP), and here he’s certainly able to convey a strong sense of the hospital’s unnerving atmosphere, helped greatly by Pierre Millon’s cinematography. It’s a shame, then, especially given Marchand’s record, that the plot isn’t more gripping and unpredictable. While Quinton does well to bring to life Isabelle’s vulnerability, Lucas’ performance as the doctor feels too full-on, so it becomes incredible he’s not suspected of the crimes earlier on, or by more people.

Perhaps the biggest problem with WHO KILLED BAMBI? is that it barely carries enough suspense through the story to justify its genre billing as a thriller. What’s left instead is a mainly tedious drama punctuated by unengaging subplots, together with an anticlimactic ending. It seems that in helming his first feature Marchand has forgotten what made much of his previous work so strong, namely a top-drawer story.

3 out of 6 stars