29 January 2018 | jonathan-harris17
Befuddling plot, solid cast
A film with an intriguing first half hour and set-up, a 70s-style spy thriller with mysterious shadow figures, typewriters and cassette recordings, that loses its way as it dives down into an incomprehensible labyrinthine political head-scratcher.
The muted, stripped down palette and sets and the very intentional non-digital central setup of an accountant transcribing cassette taps does remind of past films like The Conversation.
As it moves on however the initial setup does largely seem like a gimmick to have a base to move off from.
The main reason to keep watching for me is the always-engaging Cluzet.
Often called upon to play the 'everyman' in his films (e.g. Tell No One), here he plays Duval very downtrodden - unhappy with his working life, attending AA meetings and living a seemingly very solitary, structured life.
And yet when he's embroiled into criminality, he's always believable. He struggles, a fish out of water, usually to be beaten back and really gave me my only reason to keep watching: I wanted to see what would happen to Duval.
A pity given the main parlour games between shadow operatives seeking for 'the notebooks' had lost my interest well before the 87mins were done but there's also nothing especially off-putting going on either.