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Originally published Friday, January 14, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Movie review

Not aka "With a Friend Like Dr. Philipp"

A competent but ultimately disappointing directorial debut from screenwriter Gilles Marchand ("Human Resources," "Red Lights"), the French psychological thriller "Who Killed Bambi...

Seattle Times movie critic

A competent but ultimately disappointing directorial debut from screenwriter Gilles Marchand ("Human Resources," "Red Lights"), the French psychological thriller "Who Killed Bambi?" is set in a large, anonymous hospital, where the hallways — always strangely empty — emit an eerie, antiseptic blue-white glow. Isabelle (Sophie Quinton) is a student nurse with a delicately pretty face and timid manner; Dr. Philipp (Laurent Lucas, chiseled and chilling) is the handsome surgeon who develops an odd interest in her. He nicknames her Bambi because of her wobbly legs — she has a habit of fainting in his presence, due to an inner-ear problem — and he seems to be watching her, not entirely benevolently.

Meanwhile, strange things are happening in the hospital — patients disappear, drugs seem to have been tampered with. And Isabelle's eyes start to take on a certain deer-in-the-headlights look: Just what exactly is going on, and how much does Dr. Philipp have to do with it?

Movie review


Showtimes and trailer

**
"Who Killed Bambi?" with Sophie Quinton, Laurent Lucas, Catherine Jacob, Yasmine Belmadi, Michèle Moretti. Directed by Gilles Marchand, from a screenplay by Marchand and Vincent Dietschy. 120 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains nudity). In French with English subtitles. Northwest Film Forum, through Wednesday.

Though it's filmed with elegance and some wit (Catherine Jacob is briskly funny as Isabelle's bossy cousin Véronique), "Who Killed Bambi?" feels overlong, and its surprises tend to fall with a flat thud. Perhaps it suffers from heightened expectations: Marchand, a few years ago, co-wrote a delicious thriller called "With a Friend Like Harry" which also starred Lucas and featured the kind of cat-and-mouse suspense and ambiguous villain that "Who Killed Bambi?" presents, somewhat less successfully.

"Who Killed Bambi?" feels like a small step backward for a talented writer; let's hope his next effort puts him back on the "Harry" track.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com

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