Who Killed Bambi?

  • 2003
  • 2 HR 06 MIN
  • NR
  • Thriller

French screenwriter Gilles Marchand's directing debut, a cool, dry spin on the hospital horror story, steeps the classic woman-in-peril scenario in allusions to Disney's uber-innocent. Wide-eyed Isabelle (Sophie Quinton) is beginning her nursing residency at the prestigious hospital where her older cousin Veronique (Catherine Jacob) works. Encouraged by...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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French screenwriter Gilles Marchand's directing debut, a cool, dry spin on the hospital horror story, steeps the classic woman-in-peril scenario in allusions to Disney's uber-innocent. Wide-eyed Isabelle (Sophie Quinton) is beginning her nursing residency at the prestigious hospital where her older cousin Veronique (Catherine Jacob) works. Encouraged by Veronique, Isabelle's aiming to work as an operating-room assistant, the top of the nursing pecking order, though secretly she thinks she might prefer to work on the wards, where she could actually have a relationship with her patients. But Isabelle's plans are derailed by the onset of a series of sudden, debilitating dizzy spells, the first of which happens in an elevator with coldly autocratic surgeon Dr. Philipp (Laurent Lucas), who dubs her "Bambi" because she's unsteady on her slender little legs. Is he flirting or mocking her? Veronique thinks the former, but Isabelle is wary. Dr. Philipp looks like a catch — handsome, respected and apparently on the fast track to the top of his profession. But something about him makes Isabelle profoundly uneasy, especially when Dr. Philipp pushes her to have a previously undiagnosed inner-ear abnormality surgically corrected. Meanwhile, the wards are abuzz with talk about the pretty patient (Lisa Huynh) who vanished after surgery. The official explanation is that she must have left of her own accord, though her parents seem to think otherwise. Two other patients wake up mid-operation and one, an apparently strong young woman, subsequently dies. The nursing staff is automatically blamed, but Isabelle suspects Dr. Philipp of tampering with anesthetics and worse. Unfortunately, the fears of a student nurse who's always fainting count for little. Marchand, who's had a hand in suspense thrillers like RED LIGHTS (2004) and WITH A FRIEND LIKE HARRY (2000), favors atmosphere over shocks; Isabelle's ordeal unfolds in a self-contained world in which doctors behave like feudal lords, nurses are treated with casual disrespect and patients are things that come and go, faceless and interchangeable. The truly creepy thing is that there's no bizarre, COMA-like conspiracy behind the malfeasance, just an awful betrayal of trust — the kind of thing that sends an icy, paranoid chill through the blood just as the anesthetic takes hold. The title notwithstanding, there's no connection between this film and the Sex Pistols picture THE GREAT ROCK 'N' ROLL SWINDLE (1980), which started life as a Roger Ebert script called "Who Killed Bambi?"

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  • Released: 2003
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: French screenwriter Gilles Marchand's directing debut, a cool, dry spin on the hospital horror story, steeps the classic woman-in-peril scenario in allusions to Disney's uber-innocent. Wide-eyed Isabelle (Sophie Quinton) is beginning her nursing residency… (more)

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