How about another minor Michael Caine film that you probably have not heard of. The Statement was a 2003 joint Canadian/French/British production with a well known cast, a famed director, and very little else about it to recommend.
Michael Caine plays a French collaborator who was responsible for the rounding up and execution of some French Jews during WWII. Since then, he been on the run in the South of France. I wonder if one can actually be on the run for nearly 40 years? The answer is – apparently you can with key assistance from an unexpected source.
After the opening in which we watch 7 Jews executed by the Nazis after their homes were pointed out by Caine’s character called Pierre Brossard. We pick up the scene and it is the early 1990′s. A French Judge, played by Tilda Swinton joins up with a French Army Colonel – because the police couldn’t be trusted. Their goal – to track down Brossard and bring him to justice.
So who has been helping Brossard? Well he has been shuttling between towns in the south of France – those with churches, monasteries and a place to put him up. He also receives a monthly stipend. The French clerics of the region resolutely deny that they are either harboring this man who is wanted for crimes against humanity, or aiding and abetting his flight from justice.
Now as Caine plays him, Brossard is a double character – one is an old man, pious, and devout – who wishes only for a state of grace when he dies. He’s also a cunning and devious killer – quite talented with sussing out when he might be in danger. And who is after him – a shadowy group which we are lead to believe, at least initially, that this group could be the Jewish ancestors of those who were executed, or it might be another group of vengeance minded Jews. We aren’t entirely sure.There’s hints but nothing concrete. In fact, after Brossard escapes and kills his pursuer in what was supposed to be an ambush – we are pointedly told by a French detective that the deceased was definitely not Jewish.