Sometimes a fresh eye is all you need to rejuvenate a tried-and-true formula. Nobody Else But You, the second feature by French writer/director Gerald Hustache-Mathieu, puts an unconventional spin on the well-worn detective-fiction literary form and its film noir counterpart. Jean-Paul Rouve stars as a crime novelist suffering writer's block who literally stumbles upon a dead body while visiting "the coldest town in France" for the reading of a will. Tightly constructed using flashbacks, dream sequences and real-time clue-gathering, the movie paints a vivid and even moving portrait of a young actress named Candice Lecoeur (Sophie Quinton) whose Marilyn Monroe fixation may have gotten her killed.
The movie's take on Marilyn is a little harder to discern. Is her life an inspiration or a cautionary tale? The director seems most interested in Marilyn's personal transformation and her issues of self-esteem, which adds some depth to the mystery at the movie's center. The story details fit together a little too cleanly in the end, and there are plausibility issues probably best left unexamined. But with Twin Peaks and Fargo serving as obvious touchstones, who's going to complain? Good detective stories are really about the vibe, and that's something this movie has in spades. — KEN KORMAN