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The Pact of Silence (Le Pacte Du Silence)

Gérard Depardieu stars as a doctor/priest in this artful (and very French) pseudo-thriller about twins with a secret. Sister Sarah (Élodie Bouchez) a Carmelite nun, is having mysterious abdominal pains when Joachim (Depardieu) is called in to treat her. Gaëlle (also Bouchez) has been in prison since age 14 for an especially heinous crime — she's also having abdominal pains, in addition to dealing with the occasional bout of prison justice when the nature of her crimes is discovered by her fellow inmates. Intrigued by the mystery of Sarah's condition, his faith a bit shaky, Joachim starts to dig into the past, trying to figure out what the connection between the two women. Graham Guit's competent, visually compelling direction creates a nice atmosphere of tension that unfortunately sets up expectations for far more of a resolution than the script is able to deliver — the payoff is weak and the film's conclusion rather silly, leaving huge plot holes in its wake. Depardieu does a solid but unremarkable job as Joachim, and Bouchez manages to be attractively creepy given the limited script. Columbia TriStar's DVD release of The Pact of Silence offers an excellent anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) with clean, clear Dolby Digital 5.1 audio in French and an array of subtitles. Extras include a pleasant, scene-specific (and subtitled) commentary track featuring Guit and Bouchez, plus the preposterous, over-the-top U.S. theatrical trailer and trailers for other Columbia DVDs. Keep-case.
—Dawn Taylor

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