Jacques Laniel
Created by Benoît Dutrizac

"L'immeuble où l'on compte le plus haut taux de meurtriers au mètre carré."

Wow! A P.I. flick set in my hometown! Stop the presses!

The world of young rookie Montreal cop JACQUES LANIEL (Serge Dupire, in a small part), comes apart when his partner, Thomas Colin (Jacques Godin), is ruthlessly murdered right before his eyes. Burdened by guilt, deserted by his wife, shunned by his colleagues, with both his personal and professional lives in a tailspin, and nothing left to lose, he quits the M.U.C. police department and becomes a private eye in La Conciergerie, a 1997 film from Quebec.

Laniel's investigation into the murder of a prominent author/entrepeneur leads to a ritzy half-way house the dead man owned (The Haven, which is the English title of the film). The chief suspects are an assortment of bizarre and disreputable characters, most of them inhabitants of the house. But, surprise, surprise, following the twists and turns of the case soon has Laniel hot on the trail of his partner's killers.

By most accounts, La Conceiergerie is an ambitious, if uneven, film, mixing an assortment of crime genres, with some fine performances. At the 1997 Festival des Films du Monde in Montreal, it nabbed le Prix du public pour le meilleur film canadien.

That's most accounts I could find, that is. Me? I still haven't managed to track it down.

And good friend to this site Keith Logan had a rather dissenting view: "I just rented this one two weeks ago and it was horrible. I cannot believe you didn't slam it...unless you haven't yet seen it. This one played on Showtime last week, sub-titled in English as The Haven. Atrocious. Falls into the category of so bad it's almost worth watching. I lost it when Laniel walks into the living room at the haven, puts his hands on his hips, sticks out his chin and annouces "Jacques Laniel - detective prive". Like they give a shit and are supposed to immediately confess! And I was really ready to like this one!...Bad, bad real fucking bad. Ya didn't see it, did you? Please tell me ya didn't!"

Well, you're right, Keith. I haven't seen it. Now I really want to, though. Thanks for the warning!


  • "Plodding thriller is sometimes actually silly and suffers from too many bland performances and belaboured delivery. Too many (interchangeable) suspects leads to endless, repetitive scenes of characters being interrogated that never go anywhere. Dupire's character remains a blank slate for the most part, despite what should be workable characterization involving his murdered partner, the break-up of his marriage (to Grenon), etc. La Haye is good as one of the half-way house residents. Still, you can admire it on one level, since the idea of doing a private eye thriller that's actually set in Canada is almost unheard of these days from English-speaking filmmakers."
    The Great Canadian Guide to the Movies (and TV)


  • Le Conciergerie des Monstres


    (AKA The Haven)

    108 minutes
    Based on the novel Le Conciergerie des Monstres by Benoit Dutrizac
    Written by Benoît Dutrizac and Michel Poulette
    Directed by Michel Poulette
    Produced by John Dunning, Christian Larouche, André Link, Luc Vandal
    Original music by Jean-Marie Benoît
    Starring Serge Dupire as JACQUES LANIEL
    Also starring
    Macha Grenon, Jacques Godin, Monique Spaziani, Michel Forget, Raymond Cloutier, Dorothée Berryman, Isabel Richer, David La Haye, JiCi Lauzon, Tania Kontoyanni, Jean-René Ouellet, Paul Dion, Carl Béchard, Maka Kotto, Caroline Neron

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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