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Black comedy about two best friends, one a budding playwright and the other a motorbike freak, who spend their time annoying their girlfriends and getting into various scrapes. Things turn nasty, however, when the pair are caught burgling the offices of a karate magazine, the consequences of which sends the playwright into a spiraling bout of depression. Written by
Jonathan Broxton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
How to forget this beginning, with Antoine (François Cluzet), a "failed writer" (like probably many in the audience) writing endlessly to his former girlfriend, each time lying more, giving a version of his success more distant to his low reality.
The first phrase about Fred: "he has astonishing capacity to do nothing" is like a mantra, he's the best at that :)! The heist to Antoine's former job (and is aftermath), like Fred's botched attempts at photography to get to Claire Laroche's Agnes. Who's nothing special, but in the context of this professional losers, becomes like a diva, a porn star and an intellectual. The way he finally ends up making himself "useful" is weird to say the least :). Agnes's boyfriend acts and looks sick, a sexual pervert who could resort to anything. And Fred just doesn't care... Nonchalant as ever!
Scenes like the Karate instructor's punishment to Antoine would have been botched with most characters, not with Cluzet, who seems to be born to the role. He enters the tatami already cowering, knowing his defeat. Then he's a bit cheeky, like: "What are these suckers doing?". Only later, when he realizes that he's next, and he's going to be trashed... his look is just hilarious! Nowhere better applied this axiom that "the attitude with which you face problems precludes, or causes, the way you'll handle them". Or their attempt to "be nice" to the flat owner, Fred being "a student" (said with the same panache than most real life loafers :)), Antoine even pretends to be ending medicine (and has to suffer the consequences!).
Heartly recommended! Cluzet played Luc (the killer's best "friend") at "L' Adversaire" (2002), and before L'Enfer, making life miserable to beau Emmanuelle Béart which demonstrates what a versatile actor he is. Pierre Salvadori had just directed Cible émouvante, a similar story. When I saw this film I just couldn't stop making connections with Bertolucci's "The dreamers". But whereas Bernardo's dream conveyed no empathy for any of the characters, in here we like them both (and they're not exactly likable or have "redeeming qualities", like Tom Brooks (BBC's "Talking Movies"'s presenter) uses to say for criticizing bad movies.
IMDb's reviewer dbdumonteil is right at: "its tendency to keep an uplifting look in gloomy social conditions" and "focus on these two unconventional people, unable to adapt themselves properly to the society and to cope (...)".
The ending is FINE in the sense that there are no Hollywood changes, uplifting morales or corny music. Just life, in its endless complexity, like on Martha Stout's book "The myth of sanity".
Overally, fun and enlightening story about characters who just couldn't care less for society, but end up with us caring for them.
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