Playing Dead

A vain, washed-up actor (François Damiens) finds his second calling as a detective when he agrees to pose as a murder victim for a crime scene reenactment. The jokes may be corny and the plotting a little obvious, but this French comic mystery (2013) is so ingratiating that these shortcomings are easy to overlook. The filmmakers seem to enjoy the company of their characters; as in many of Claude Chabrol’s later films, the mystery premise serves mainly as an excuse to savor niceties of behavior and detective work. Unfortunately director Jean-Paul Salomé (who wrote the script with Cécile Telerman and Jérôme Tonnerre) lacks Chabrol’s finesse; some handsome Alpine locations notwithstanding, this looks like a generic TV sitcom. In French with subtitles.