Mortelle randonnée  (1983) from Tuna

IMDb calls this film Deadly Circuit, a more or less accurate translation of the title.

Mortelle Randonee (1983) is a noir detective thriller, but a very odd one. This genre is always heavily dependant on the personality of the detective, as he is the one we are to relate to, and through whose POV we view the story. Beauvoir, The 'Eye'  (Michel Serrault) is not a classic movie detective. He works for an agency, has badly botched his last assignment, and is being given a last chance by his boss. His personal life is troubled. He is obsessed with a daughter that he was denied access to when his wife divorced him. He has a school class photo she sent, and each year he gets one guess as to which girl is his daughter.

The case itself is a simple one. A rich Belgian family wants to know more about the young woman their son is keeping company with. The Eye quickly determines that she is the wrong kind of girl. He watches her dispose of the young man's body, but does not turn her in because her suspects that she is his long lost daughter, based on absolutely no evidence. He follows the girl through most of western Europe on the pretext of catching up with the young man and returning him to his family. He simply watches her do her black widow routine over and over, and becomes more and more protective of her.

All of this leads to a very French ending that I will not give away.

The young girl is played by an 18 year old Isabelle Adjani, who looks amazing. Who could blame The Eye for becoming obsessed with her? 0 ( It was nominated for five Cesars. Admittedly, I love a good whodunnit, but this is nothing like the classic detective film. Considering that it took place all over Europe, you might imagine a "travelogue" feel to the film, but that was not at all the case. The new spin on the genre was interesting, and the portrayals by the leads were wonderful, making this well worth the watch.

Scoop's note: Tuna and I also reviewed the English language remake of this film, The Eye of the Beholder, which starred Ewan McGregor and Ashley Judd. Both films are based on the 1980 crime novel "The Eye of the Beholder" by Marc Behm. In the movie world, Behm is most famous as the author of two famous screenplays: Charade, and the first Beatles film, Help!



  • In French with optional English subtitles


  • Commentary by director Stephan Elliott
  • "Making Of" Featurette


  • Isabelle Adjani shows breasts in two scenes, and spends the rest of the film looking amazing.
  • There is also a stripper who shows breasts in a short scene.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online.

  • It was nominated for a five Cesars.

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C+. If you like the genre and don't mind subtitles, this is an offbeat winner!

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