The Last Diamond DVD Review

  • Actors: Bérénice Bejo, Yvan Attal
  • Director: Eric Barbier
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 26, 2016
  • Run Time: 108 minutes

        The Last Diamond is a thoroughly enjoyable heist film, despite an uneven tone and questionable story structure. There are many ridiculous elements to the second half of the film, despite the relative realism in the first half, and the lighthearted humor of the beginning is also dismissed by the film’s conclusion. Uneven as it may be, The Last Diamond is never anything less than watchable, providing the type of popcorn entertainment expected of Hollywood in the form of a French film.

        Simon (Yvan Attal) is a career criminal who has just been released on parole from prison when he is approached by a longtime partner in crime, Albert (Jean-François Stévenin). The aging thief lures Simon into a plan to steal the priceless Florentin diamond though a series of tricks and cons followed by old-fashioned theft. There is little within the theft itself which has not been seen before in heist movies, such as those included in the Oceans 11 franchise, but the details in the preparation are as intelligent as they are entertaining. It isn’t until after the heist that this attention to detail and realism is thrown out the window, and unfortunately the heist takes place in the middle of the movie, leaving plenty of time for the narrative to devolve into a far sillier film.

        Although there is a major heist at the center of the movie and an additional con at the narrative’s climax, The Last Diamond is as much a romance as it is a crime film. In Simon’s efforts to establish his con, he pretends to be a security expert helping the woman in charge of the diamond’s auction. Julia (Bérénice Bejo) is new to the task, filling in for her recently deceased mother. Overwhelmed by the responsibility of the job, Julia welcomes the help from the man she believes worked with her mother. Despite taking advantage of Julia while she is vulnerable, Simon inevitably falls for the woman that he is conning. This only works with the narrative because although Simon is a bad guy, he is not the worst of the bunch.

        The Last Diamond is far from a perfect film, but I did appreciate the effort to make something both entertaining and intelligent, even if it was rarely both at the same time. I know some hold French cinema to a higher standard, frustrated by the devolving of the film’s second half. Personally, I was just pleased by the intelligence of the first half, and maybe this comes with plenty of experience watching entire films as silly as the second half. It may suddenly feel like something out of a Mission Impossible movie, complete with an absurd costume and a predictable stand-off, but my experience allows me the ease of suspending my disbelief and simply enjoying the silly spectacle.

        The DVD special features include interviews with the two romantic leads, as well as an interview with director Eric Barbier. There is also a theatrical trailer and the DVD case comes with a booklet insert including the cast list, DVD chapter list, and production photography.

Entertainment Value: 7.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10
Historical Significance:  4/10
Special Features: 3.5/10

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