I was getting ready for my workout. I pulled up a “Anthony Zimmer” from my Instant Queue and got going.
A woman goes into a restaurant. She waits. She’s being stood up. A messenger enters, sees her, and gives her an envelope. She reads it, crumples it, burns it, and leaves.
I knew I’d seen this movie before. I knew what she was going to do next, I knew where it was going, but I also knew that I’d never seen this movie before. And it wasn’t just the Bernard Hermann inspired score (equal parts “North By Northwest” and “Vertigo”) or the scenes of Paris and the Riviera that I’d seen in a dozen movies from “To Catch a Thief” to “Ronin”. No, I’d have remembered Sophie Marceau in this movie. I remember Sophie Marceau in every movie I’ve seen her in (call me crazy). The damned thing was…I couldn’t remember how it ended.
I’ve had this sort of extended déjà vu before. I picked up an omnibus edition of three novels by Theodore Sturgeon. One of the included works was The Dreaming Jewels, his first novel, first published in 1950. I started in and, about fifty pages in, it just felt really familiar. I couldn’t put my finger on it, and I couldn’t predict where the story was taking me, but whenever something happened, I wasn’t surprised or amused; I just went “Yup, that fits.” This non-total total recall went on until halfway through when I checked the copyright notice. There, I learned that The Dreaming Jewels had also been published as The Synthetic Man, and that book I remembered reading, about ten years prior.
Same thing with this movie. About halfway through I checked IMDB.com, did some snooping, and found that “Anthony Zimmer” (2005) was remade as “The Tourist” (2010), and that movie I remembered seeing.
Luckily, in both cases, I didn’t remember how it all ended, so I was able to continue the book and the movie, enjoying both a second time.
“Anthony Zimmer” is actually a much better film than the American remake. The Hermann-esque score was perfect, Marceau and Attal are thoroughly believable, and in standard French style, the plot had none of the overblown, tick-tock, false suspense that the Americans added to the remake.
And don’t worry. I won’t tell you how it ends.