It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
She is an elegant beauty and a drunk. "The clinic is her second home," they whisper. "She's brought out for special occasions." Her husband owns one of the most famous jewelry shops in the world on Place Vendome in Paris, across from the Ritz. His secret is that the business is bankrupt. On one of the rare nights when she's at home instead of in rehab, he shows her where he has hidden five superb diamonds. Then he drives his car into the side of a lumber truck and kills himself.
Marianne Malivert, played by Catherine Deneuve, once knew something about the diamond trade herself. She met her husband while making a deal. But "I've forgotten all that," she says. At a business dinner with her husband before his death, she doesn't drink, but eventually she gets up, glides around the table, places a hand on his shoulder, and goes into another room--where he finds her draining leftover wine. "At least start with a new bottle," he says, handing her one. He accepts her alcoholism as a fact of life.
"Place Vendome" begins as the portrait of a woman who has lost all interest and hope; when she sees her hungover face in a mirror, she recoils in disgust. After her husband's death, a curious thing happens. The name and reputation of the firm is worth something, even if its shelves are bare, and her brother-in-law wants to sell. But she thinks of those five diamonds, stops drinking, and begins to remember her old skills as a jeweler.
That's when the movie edges toward becoming a thriller. Not the kind of thriller with car chases, but a film noir, in which shady people appear from out of the past, and Marianne finds herself caught in a net of danger.