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Marina de Van
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On a hot day in a highway gas station men's room, a man Michel doesn't recognize says they went to school together. He's Harry. He suggests they have a drink, so he and his girlfriend follow Michel and his family to their summer place. Michel is amazed when Harry quotes from memory a poem Michel wrote in school. Harry thinks Michel is a great writer, and he's distressed that Michel hasn't written in years. Harry stays awhile (since his father's death, he's a man of leisure) and sets out to eliminate distractions that might keep Michel from writing. First he buys Michel a car (with air conditioning) and then suspicious things happen. Michel picks up a pen, Harry is gratified, but he's not finished being Michel's self-appointed patron. Written by
Fine Graduation Piece from French Hitchcock Student
I'm surprised there aren't more comments about this film, because it is a truly excellent piece of entertainment in the cinema of menace genre. Ordinary guy Michel (Laurent Lucas), hot and bothered while taking his family on a summer vacation, meets up with Harry, a former schoolfriend (Sergi Lopez), who he doesn't remember, and who seems to be both rich and very solicitous of his welfare. When the family car breaks down, Harry buys them a new four-wheel drive (it seems that even the French have not escaped the sports utility craze). Clearly, there is something not healthy about Harry's interest but it takes a while for the real story to emerge, and there are some carefully observed and funny moments on the way.
It has been pointed out, and there are certainly signs, that Harry can be seen as the embodiment of some of Michel's darker feelings, particularly the feeling that the everyday demands of family life and work have prevented him from developing his talent as a writer. Michel also has a certain amount of resentment towards his parents, but the character of Harry grossly overreacts to Michel's `enemies' and in the end, of course it is Harry, the psychotic in all of us, who has to go.
The immediacy of the camera work puts us right in the picture, heightening the tension. There are a couple of scenes inside cars being driven on narrow mountain roads at night as scary as anything Hitchcock (obviously an influence on first-time director Dominik Moll) attempted, and the nearly 2 hours of running time passes very quickly. Great entertainment.
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