The quiet, orderly bourgeois life of watch tinkerer Descombes (Noiret) is violently jarred when his son Bernard (Rougerie) is arrested for murdering a security guard. The baffled father must now make sense of what happened. As Descombes methodically seeks answers in the wake of the crime, he also searches for a way to reconnect with his wayward son.
Critic-filmmaker Tavernier helms this excellent thinking man's thriller, about a low-key shop owner who's forced by circumstances to re-evaluate his routinized and respectable life. Noiret is subtly affecting as the titular horologist, and Rochefort offers fine support as a police commissioner sympathetic to his need for an inner rewinding. Tavernier works in sly critiques of mass media, political corruption, and French hypocrisy, and makes great use of the Lyons locale. Still, his "Clockmaker" is mostly a searching character study, as precise as a Swiss watch.