Jean-Luc Godard’s Détective (1985) is an invigorating deconstruction of film noir that adds a dash of Grand Hotel (1932) melodrama and Body and Soul (1947) boxing drama, all tied into an arresting Godardian knot.
In a luxury Paris hotel, two detectives (Laurent Terzieff and Jean-Pierre Léaud) are working on the vexing case of an assassinated prince. In a nearby room, boxing trainer Jim Fox Warner (Johnny Hallyday) is getting his young protégé ready for a fight. But Jim owes big money to the mob, as well as to the Chenals, a bickering husband and wife (Claude Brasseur and Nathalie Baye). In Godard’s fractured, poetic style, the tension ratchets up between these groups until they reach a bloody breaking point.