Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Ne le dis á personne (2007)

video

RATING







I looked forward to seeing this, because it rocked the French box office. And the French, as a uniquely intriguing civilisation, are fascinating to follow. You know, I could have an entire blog on the French...or what people say about them:

“French is the language that turns dirt into romance” - Stephen King

“How many Frenchmen does it take to change a light bulb? One. He holds the bulb and all of Europe revolves around him.” Ouch

“Dogs smoke in France” Ozzy Osbourne

“We always have been, we are, and I hope that we always shall be, detested in France” - Duke of Wellington

Yada yada. Anyway, on with the film.

In a nutshell, this is a very convoluted thriller/drama that the bigheads would call an intense example of humanism. Basically, Dr. Alexandre Beck loses his wife to some thugs on a night at Lake Charmaine. Her body is found some time later. Fast forward 8 years and he gets e-mails suggesting his wife is alive, while the Gendarmerie have discovered evidence that leads them to suspect Beck once more. Events and other forces conspire against him and so, from this setting we get a thrill-a-minute set very much in the Hollywood mould (I mean that in a good way, as always). Beck sets out to find his wife, prove his innocence and leave a few dead bodies in the way. Gripping stuff.

I can honestly say it’s one of the best thrillers I have seen recently, for a variety of reasons: the nuances that are never explained (the ‘child’ angle, Beck’s father, etc), the plot (say what you will, it was at once deep but never too complicated) and the fact that most of it is quite plausible (having said that, I am a little bit more believing than most people). Unfortunately, those of us not very well acquainted with the language, the subtitling is a distraction, but the film doesn’t really rely too much on facial expressions as much as dialogue. So a stranger to French loses nothing.

The plot itself starts small and works its way out, implicating more powers and people. There’s also a Police angle that lifts the film above the average, and the fact that Beck is surrounded by women.

Very convoluted and sometimes the thrills are a little forced – like Beck’s run from the Police, but this ends in something of a brainwave for the writers (let’s say he calls on an old friend...).

Pros

1. A host of lovely beauties (Kristin Scott Thomas, par exemple)
2. Somewhat complicated plot, but not in a way that makes you cry softly in the shower.
3. François Cluzet – the French version of Dustin Hoffman. Literally. Anyway, solid performance. See below!



Spot the difference...

4. The mystery ! It’s always good when somebody comes back from the dead.
5. A nice buddy-relationship between the good Doctor and somebody else…who can it be?!

Cons

1. A little too serious. But then it’s French (it’s true...there is never a bad time to say that).
2. Our Doctor can outrun Police Officers half his age, cross traffic that they can’t and fight gangsters. Wait...this should be in the pros column.
3. The bit at the end...I mean, what kind of ‘50s-style-ok-I’ll-tell-you-everything-farce is that?
4. The suicide is a bit over the top. I mean, steady on.

Critics will say things like "it lacks an emotional core", but forget that. Films like this don't NEED an emotional core! Anyway, as they say, la critique est aisée, mais l'art est difficile.

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