The Godmother [8/10]

Hannelore Cayre’s pithy, packed crime thriller was a most unusual, delightful lockdown read. A tale of a Paris-based translator of Arabic drug dealer wire taps who crosses to the other side, it was mordant yet exciting. Because much of the pleasure of the novel lies in the hero’s inner thoughts (including much about the business of dealing drugs), I feared that the new movie version of “The Godmother” would flop, but my worries were misplaced. Cayre is credited as scriptwriter along with director Jean-Paul Salomé, and the script, while working harder on visual comedy and drama, and less on back story, retains the sharp, dark character of the book. Isabell Huppert is supremely confident and empathetic as “Mama Weed” (the French title), and the tautly choreographed actions scenes, one after the other, are filmed with great flair. The Godmother turns out to be an exuberant, French-infused caper film and is a hoot to watch.

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