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  • Warning: Spoilers
    First, let's be clear, THIS MOVIE IS NOT A COMEDY, as it is said in the top line. Not at all. A thriller instead, a powerful, fascinating, riveting drama, yes, yes, yes. An authentic masterpiece. The tale of a lonely and hateful for himself estate broker who decides one day to impersonate one of his client, a great, notorious but selfish musician - and a lonely man too - in order to take care of the musician's son, a little eight year boy.

    I won't tell you any further about this feature. I don't want to spoil anything. But, believe me, it's really Worth watching. A poignant and very deep tale that makes you think about the capacity for a human being to change or improve himself. To be at last himself.
  • Sometimes an idea can be overwhelming and the weight of it might crush the whole movie underneath it. Other times it just might be the right director and actor doing that stuff with a script that is tight and lean (and mean of course). This is one of those times. It's not easy to watch at times, especially because of the blandness of the main character. But this is a deliberate method/tool and it's supposed to feel that way for the viewer.

    Indeed some may feel that there are not enough emotions in this and that's I reckon a fair criticism. It's more a movie for the head, if you want to call it that. But what it does with your head, especially concerning the twists and the whole "Who am I?" identity thing that is going on ... It's superb execution and it really had me at the edge of my seat!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    What a wonderful and incredible movie, an unusual subject : a man searching for his true personality by transforming himself into other persons by changing his face with masks and assimilate their clothes. I won't tell anymore, this fantastic tale going really very far, e real trip. When seeing this masterpiece, I thought of movies directed by Franju, Cronenberg or Tod Browning's "The Unknown" (and others with the unforgettable Lon Chaney).

    When I watch this kind of unclassifiable movies, I finally find there is some hope in discovering movies with real stories, tripping you to dream or nightmare from close life, far away from ketchup blockbusters full of nothing and costing thousands of dollars just to win millions of dollars without a dollar of emotion. In fact, "Un Illustre Inconnu" is intensely rich in emotions, a gripping tale of life with tremendous suspense. Please, don't miss it. And you'll think about yourself. For the better...
  • Engrossing (if slightly overlong - the first 30 minutes are essentially just a dress rehearsal for the rest) little thriller with an award-caliber chameleonic performance by Mathieu Kassovitz; this must be one of the acting highlights of his career. Smartly presented ending. *** out of 4.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A middle-aged man likes, no, needs to impersonate other people. Meticulous and driven, he has gotten very good at it, to the point where he could get hired as a professional make-up or effects expert for a movie. One day he crosses paths with a famous (and famously misanthropic) musician, who has returned to his native France after many years of glamorous travels and concerts...

    Quite an interesting movie, best described as a thriller with some horror accents. (The horror here is of the moral and existential kind, not the "Transsylvanian count in a castle" or "zombies banging on a door" kind.) The acting is exceptional and exceptionally versatile, as befits a movie about a man capable of assuming almost any look and identity that strike his fancy. Thanks to the well-chosen sets and locations, the whole takes on an intriguing maze-like or labyrinth-like look.

    In its way "Un illustre inconnu" is also a condemnation of our modern society, where millions of citizens can live side-by-side in the same busy city without getting to know each other. There are whole apartment blocks where the various tenants never progress beyond "That's the deaf lady who dislikes cats" or "That must be a cousin of that old guy who wore woollen Christmas sweaters". And of course nowadays things are made even worse by various social media, which provide false illusions of knowledge, insight and intimacy...

    The plot is quite good, with suspenseful twists and unexpected turns. Once you start watching, you'll find yourself hooked till the end.

    Did you notice the French title ? My own native language, Dutch, contains the exact equivalent, "een illustere onbekende". As far as I know, English has not yet adopted the expression. There's an opportunity here...
  • skepticskeptical2 October 2020
    This film is excellent. Bizarre and suspenseful, with beautiful cinematography, a gripping story and excellent acting. I had a feeling that it would be good when I saw that Matthieu Kasovitz (director of La Haine) was involved.