Stars: *** 1/2
Rating: PG-13 for language. In French with English subtitles
Run Time: 2 hours, 12 minutes
A sinister sensibility and an intensely eerie score lend a creepy aura to this hidden-agenda drama that shouts classic French nuance.
In these economically shaky times of corporate mergers and drastic downsizing, a story about the anxious netherworld between jobs is particularly poignant. Protagonist Vincent (Aurelien Recoing) appears to have it all – the upscale home, the attractive wife, happy kids, and a secure position that affords him and his family a comfortable lifestyle. The film opens with Vincent on a business trip, phoning home at regular intervals to assure his wife that all is well and oh, pardonnez-moi, he’s rushing into his next meeting. The fact that the calls are placed from picnic areas and rest stops is puzzling and disturbing.
Visits home after extended trips reveal small clues. Vincent claims to be considering leaving his current position for a better opportunity in Switzerland. He approaches several friends and colleagues with a no-fail investment scheme. Suggestive rather than affirmative, Vincent’s bold lies are breathtaking in their arrogant conviction, leaving the question of ultimate truth dangling in a narrative limbo.
A middle-aged man whose fierce pride leads him down a thorny path of unforeseen consequences is a somber reality. Con man? Sociopath? Or a desperate poseur with everything to lose? Recoing, a French stage actor starring in his first major film role, embodies the struggling male whose oblique stance as to his personal circumstances makes a haunting impression. A cautionary, and hypnotic, tale of the unforeseen pressures of the male ego and the impersonal demands of the contemporary workplace.