12 April 2012 | nihao
Confused? Or "conned"..?
Nowadays the French have come up with a renewed 'cinemà verité' formula , but it's based on social issues...ordinary folk, factory workers, union struggles, and the unemployed. Director X.Giannoli is foxy, but NOT as intelligent as he thinks. We are spoon-fed a story which becomes increasingly improbable, but which is sold to us with all the ability of... a con man. In this case, the director himself. Judging by a comment I have just read in this Data Base, he has found at least ONE dupe.... Con-Man stories can be very intriguing, in literature and in movies. Giannoli's skill is in the 'feel' he gives the movie... a truly 'documentary' cut, jerky but subtle photography; unusual actors...mainly the two lead female roles... and , of course, Depardieu whose now customary flabby, and 'whogivesadamn' look and attitude make us believe, and hope, we're in for some serious, provocative cinema. But, alas, things go downhill fast. Chance, and a vaguely comic misunderstanding, lead us up the garden path to a sequel of highly unlikely events (justified by the usual 'based on a true story' prologue). Far from wishing to spoil the potential viewer's curiosity, I shall only say that, as the film draws to a (flimsy) finale.... I, and I am sure , many others, start mentally collecting the highly improbable 'plot points', and end up feeling , well.... frustrated and somewhat cheated. Giannoli has done a variety of good things, but one too many smart ass tricks. The female protagonist is a courageous choice, given her not too graceful appearance. Mr. Cluzet is fine, until he,literally 'bares his teeth', luckily well into the story. The 'rescue scene' is strangely 'Hollywood'; out of keeping with the otherwise fairly austere style chosen by the director. Maybe the first sign that something is awry, comes with the whirling carousel of construction machines, trucks and 'catterpillars' which suddenly spring out of nowhere. Not only do they torment the protagonist, they warn the expert film-buff that he/she is in for a few, not too credible, surprises. Or Rip Offs. And Depardieu? One suspects he was doing the director a little favor here. His two appearances are all too brief and his celluloid 'au-revoir' is downright embarrassing. On an ethical level, too, the film is lost at sea. And those typical printed lines which appear on the black screen as an epilogue, seem to mop up the messy floor that director Giannoli leaves us with, A few sloppy and weak 'explanations'. Have I been too harsh? Maybe. But you see, I don't like being 'conned'.