10 March 2013 | dbdumonteil
To have and to have not
Based on a true story,although the director warns us that there is a lot of fiction included in his story.
Jérémie Rénier is,along Guillaume Canet ,one of the rare actors of his generation that can be called a character actor;from the youngster who experimented a nightmare à la "Hansel and Gretel" (Les Amants Criminels" ) to his stunning portrayal of Claude François (in a so-so movie);in "possessions,he portrays a crude working man ,confronted to the world of the privileged classes life :their owners are very kind ,too kind and too human ;it's just a mask;under the pretext of providing them with a accommodation ,they use them as pawns :all the places are " temporary" .
The young mechanic first enjoys luxury but his behavior (in the hotel ,it's revealing)sharply contrasts with that of the "true" guests ;andd although he is a simple vulgar proletarian,he can feel humiliation and condescension :when Gladys gives them used clothes and her children's old toys ,the wife grumbles :"is this Emmaüs?"( well -known charity organization founded in 1949 by Abbé Pierre which provides help for homeless people);and when the Italian tourist ,coming back to his country,wants to give them the food he cannot take with him,Bruno,mad with rage ,throws the stuff in the garbage can -"are we supposed to eat the wop's left -over grub?"
The first hour is almost faultless;things begin to degenerate a bit in the last third in which the director botched his job;the parts of the black owner and of his wife (Alexandra Lamy ,the unforgettable Dujardin's co-star in the memorable "Un Garçon ,Une Fille"TV series) are too underwritten and the action too hurried .
But ,in spite of these limitations and of Julie Depardieu's somewhat monotonous portrayal,it is not to be missed ;with such a subject,Claude Chabrol (the influence of whom can be felt here there and everywhere)would have made one of his best achievements.
Like this ? try these.......
"La Cérémonie" ,Claude Chabrol ,1995
"Plein Soleil" René Clément ,1959