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Home Vision Entertainment presents
Tricheurs (1983)

"With me, you'll always win."
- Jorg (Kurt Raab)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: October 23, 2003

Stars: Jacques Dutronc, Bulle Ogier
Other Stars: Leandro Vale, Roger Serbib, Steve Baës, Virgilio Teixeira, Kurt Raab, Ladislaus Perreira, To-Zé Martinho, Claus-Dieter Reents, Roger Sarbib, Karl Wallenstein, Robby Müller, Carlos César, Waldemar de Souza
Director: Barbet Schroeder

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (Nudity, language)
Run Time: 01h:34m:40s
Release Date: September 23, 2003
UPC: 037429182321
Genre: foreign

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B+B+A- C+

DVD Review

"She's an old mistress, I can't get rid of her." - Elric

There is one rule about gambling—the odds are all in favor of the house. To those for whom the roulette wheel holds a fatal attraction, there is only one sure way to overcome the odds—by cheating. Barbet Schroeder's Tricheurs (Cheaters), a story of gambling addiction and the means taken to feed the habit by devising ways to cheat, was inspired by observing the habits of Schroeder's long-time aquaintance, Steve Baes, who served as technical advisor (and also appears as the casino manager). The film would be Schroeder's third, and final (to date) outing with actress Bulle Ogier, whom he first used in the Pink Floyd-scored La Vallee (1972), followed by 1976's Maîtresse opposite Gérard Depardieu. Popular French singer-turned-actor Jacques Dutronc takes the central role as the out of control antihero lost in the grip of an irresistable compulsion.

Elric is a hopeless gambling addict, whose luck at the roulette wheel inevitably leaves him bust. Always in search of a little luck, he thinks he has found his charm when he meets Suzie, wearing the number seven on her dress, which he takes as an omen. He convinces her to come along for the ride, and ends up winning big, only to lose in the end, which is when he meets Jorg, a man with a system who guarantees Elric's losing days are over. Jorg is running a scam, using his two accomplices to create a diversion just as the ball drops in order to place a winning bet, and wants Elric in on the scheme. When their initial foray runs the table, Elric's compulsiveness costs them the pot, putting him at odds with his co-conspirators, but Jorg is undeterred. Soon he and Elric are jetsetting between the world's biggest casinos, breaking the bank before the house figures out what is going on, but how long will it be before their luck runs out?

Lensed by Robby Müller (Barfly), the story unfolds surrounded by the decadence of casino life and easy money. Like many of Schroeder's subjects, Tricheurs takes a dispassionate approach, allowing the viewer to observe compulsion in action, and the not so subtle shift from a lucky streak into an all out binge and its aftermath. The all-consuming nature of the beast is witnessed in the opening shot, as Elric offers the last he has to give after another night's defeat. When Suzie enters the picture, she doesn't share Elric's affliction, but as the final scenes unfold, her resistance to the allure of the wheel and the ultimate score may not be so controlled. The performances are strong, and the direction does a good job of capturing the excitement of the highs and the depths of the lows. The extremes that drive the characters makes for a compelling watch, especially as the danger of being caught becomes increasingly real.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.66:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: While only listed as "letterbox" on the packaging, Tricheurs is presented in a new anamorphic transfer, windowboxed to its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Overall the image looks very good, grain looks natural, colors are strong, and save for a few places (like the opening shot), decent black levels. The source print is in fair shape, with only minor scratches, and a few blips here and there. There are a few sequences that suffer from some annoying jitter, but these are sporadic, and usually shot-specific.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is provided in original French mono. The track is clean, dialogue is clear, and there is a decent spectral coverage, and nothing that really stands out in the way of flaws.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Alpha
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Interview with Barbet Schroeder
Extras Review: The principle extra is an 8m:30s interview with director Schroeder, who talks about the many aspects that went into making the film. Of particular note is the irony of Steve Baes' position in the production.

A 01m:17s theatrical trailer is also provided, along with an eight-page essay on some of the more famous developments in beating the wheel by gambling authority, Christopher Pawlicki.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

Home Vision brings another Schroeder property to DVD with Tricheurs, which offers a compelling look at the world of compulsive gambling, and the lengths to which people will go to beat the system. The principles serve up convincing performances, as the allure of money at the drop of a ball becomes an all-consuming lifestyle.


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