5 April 2004 | dbdumonteil
Patrice Leconte leads with brio a "tandem" of two terrific actors
A movie released in 1987, "Tandem" represents a turning point in Patrice Leconte's work. Indeed, from this film, this brilliant director gives up comedy to shot more dramatic movies which will enable him to assert a more personal and more original style. Thus, "Tandem" is the first of a quite long series of movies that will make Leconte one of the most accomplished French filmmakers ever.
"Tandem" is a thrilling and consistent film in the way Leconte succeeds in cleverly blending road-movie, drama and comedy. The latter expresses itself in several forms. For example, several details of the movie gives it a little surrealist air (Rivetot who has an obsessive fear of red dog, Mortez who can't stand the sight of drivers who have a picnic on the edge of the road). Leconte uses these somewhat absurd details to shot comical situations. The best example can be found in the following sequence: as Mortez and Rivetot's car breaks down, they have to host their radio program in the country. The candidates are the ones who fixed them and they are people who are actually picnickers!
Concerning drama, it is especially present in the background of the film: Rivetot's will to hide the truth from Mortez about the cancellation of the game. On another hand, in dramatic sequences Leconte knows how to create the emotion, partly thanks to the music.
Then, "Tandem" is served by two exceptionally talented actors. Leconte describes then with a touch of ironic humor. On one hand, Jean Rochefort (who will often be one of Leconte's favorite actors), a proud and haughty man who only lives for his radio program. On another hand, Gérard Jugnot, a jovial man who is impressed by his partner (it is to be noted that it is the first movie in which he acts without his mustache). Through their adventure, not only is it a real friendship story that Leconte aims at showing us.
Ultimately, "Tandem" is a fine success of a gifted director and if you wish to discover Patrice Leconte's movies, this one constitutes a good start.