Buffet Froid is an absurd black comedy that cunningly reverses the conventions of the crime thriller to comment on the alienating and dehumanizing effects of contemporary urban life. It starts with Alphonse Tram (Gérard Depardieu) discovering that his casual subway acquaintance (Michel Serrault) is lying down with Alphonse's penknife sticking out of his belly. When he tries to report the crime to his neighbor, a police inspector (Bernard Blier), the latter refuses to listen, saying that he is not at work now. Later, Alphonse's wife is killed, and her hapless murderer (Jean Carmet) almost immediately confesses to Alphonse, but neither the husband nor the police inspector seem to be shocked. The three embark on a series of adventures and bizarre encounters in modern Paris.