""The Clockmaker," which is based on a novel by Georges Simenon, begins with the report of a murder and ends as the portrait of a personality. It has that in common with a lot of books by Simenon and other crime writers who understand that people, not crimes, are their real subject (I'm thinking also of Nicholas Freeling and P. D. James). What's unusual about "The Clockmaker," though, is its angle of attention: It's not about the killer, but about the killer's father. And it presents him so eloquently that it becomes one of the year's best films. The father is played by Philippe Noiret. You may not recognize the name, but you will recognize the face from a dozen movies: sad-eyed, thoughtful, resigned to middle age. Noiret plays a clockmaker who lives and works in a quiet quarter of Lyons. He is not quite a widower. ("My wife and I separated, and then she died - what does that make me?") He lives with a son who comes and goes according to his own schedule. One day a police inspector visits the clockmaker's shop to inform him that his son has committed a murder.
Chicago Sun Times