8 February 2009 (2009-02-08)(Berlin Film Festival)
25 February 2009 (2009-02-25)(France)
Bellamy — known as Inspector Bellamy in the U.S. — is a French murder mystery film released in 2009. It is the last film of celebrated French director Claude Chabrol (who died the following year) and the only time he worked with star Gérard Depardieu. Chabrol said in an interview that the film is like a "novel that Simenon never wrote", a kind of "Maigret on vacation".
Inspector Paul Bellamy (Depardieu) is a seasoned and obese Parisian police detective on vacation with his wife Françoise (Marie Bunel) at her family home in Nîmes. Their tranquil holiday is complicated when he cannot resist becoming involved in the case of a man, insurance broker Emile Leullet (Jacques Gamblin), who recently attempted to fake his own death in a car crash near Sète for his mistress (Vahina Giocante) and the insurance money. Leullet, hiding under an assumed name and altered appearance and unsure what to do now, seeks out Bellamy for help. (Bellamy is a celebrity and well known throughout France through his published memoirs, which reveal he has a "soft spot for murders"). Leullet may or may not have killed the homeless man whose corpse was found burned in his car. The dead man, Denis LePrince (also played by Gamblin), was a son of a local judge, now also dead. Bellamy's alcoholic half-brother Jacques Lebas (Clovis Cornillac) shows up unexpectedly and soon he and Paul are bickering bitterly and Paul is back on the bottle himself, which he had previously given up. Françoise is not thrilled with all the disruptions. In between socializing with their gay dentist friend and his partner and quarreling with Jacques, Paul finds time to informally interview and repeatedly question Leullet, Leullet's wife, Leullet's mistress, LePrince's former lover, and many other local denizens. As things become more complicated, family tensions threaten to overwhelm professional obligations. Paul, a professional tough guy, finds himself pondering the meaning of his own life and relationships. Leullet turns himself in to the clueless local police chief who, apparently, has been sleeping with the mistress. He is acquitted at the trial where he is represented (at Bellamy's suggestion) by LePrince's girlfriend's lawyer who renders the defense (also at Bellamy's suggestion) in the form of a Georges Brassens song. (Brassens was a local Sète hero and had been something of an obsession for LePrince.) Jacques absconds with Paul's car and is soon reported dead in a car crash, but only after Paul has revealed to Françoise the dark secret underlying his fraught relationship with his half-brother and the source of his lifelong tristesse. The film ends with a W.H. Auden epigram: "There's always another story/There is more than meets the eye".