Secret Défense
Secret Défense (1999)

In this French-Swiss-Italian murder mystery, medical researcher Sylvie discovers that her brother Paul, having found new incriminating evidence, is planning to kill Walser, the man who gained control of their dad's high-tech company… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: November 19, 1999
DVD Release Date: January 2, 2002
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Critic Score: 85% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Richard Brody
New Yorker

With suave and feline images by the cinematographer William Lubtchansky, Rivette offers a virtual documentary on modern bourgeois solitude ...

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Stephen Holden
New York Times

As the glacially paced film inches forward with its halting conversations and accusatory glances, it tests your patience. And when the truth ultimately tumbles out and more violence erupts, don't expect a catharsis.

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Ken Fox
TV Guide

The film will either draw you in (as Rivette's best films can), or simply wear you out.

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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader

The brooding intimations of Greek tragedy are part of what keeps this 170-minute thriller fascinating throughout.

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J. Hoberman
Village Voice

Hermetic and somewhat opaque, this perfectly symmetrical tragedy is not for every taste. For those willing to enter the Rivette zone, however, it's a chess puzzle devised by a grand master.

Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid

Rivette stretches the proceedings out to 2 hours and 45 minutes, gradually revealing little bits of the puzzle to us and ending on a perfect, sublime note.

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Time Out

For all its mysteries, the movie thoroughly repudiates suspense.

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Thanks to Bonnaire's characteristically intelligent performance, the circumlocutions hold some interest, proving again that since her discovery by Pialat she has become the most uncompromising of French actresses.

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Jeffrey M. Anderson
San Francisco Examiner

An icy thriller from Rivette.

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