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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
The debut of french director Dominik Moll is a brilliant movie that follows Hitchcock's school of classic suspense to the letter, while keeping the directors own modern style in a psychological thriller reminiscent of David Lynch.
Laurent Lucas stars as Michel, father of a middle-class family that goes on vacation to their house in rural France. On a gas station he finds Harry (played by Sergi López), a rich man who went to high school with Michel and that is traveling towards Switzerland with his girlfriend Prune (beautiful Sophie Guillemin). Michel invites Harry to his house, because even when he can't remember who Harry is, it seems as if Harry remembers everything about Michel.
The problems of Michel with his parents and his wife Claire (Mathilde Seigner) will come to light as Harry intrusion becomes more apparent and Claire begins to wonder how healthy is Harry's influence over his husband.
The story moves at a slow pace building the suspense and the tension between the characters to a maximum. Nevertheless, the direction and the script make sure that this slow rhythm will not become boring or tiresome and the movie works very wheel filled with interesting scenes that give everything you NEED to know about the characters, but not everything you WANT to know about them.
This classic take on suspense and mystery, that many have tried with mixed results, works very good here thanks to the wonderful script that adds scenes of bizarre surrealism that while serve the purpose of breaking the suspense, they also increase the tension and mystery surrounding their characters.
It's worthy to mention the superb acting of those involved. Lucas, Seigner and López have a good chemistry on screen that clearly helps the movie to be as powerful as it is.
By the end of the movie the tension is at it's peak and the script makes the most of it giving a brilliant finale that even when it is very simple it is both mysterious and rewarding.
This is not the typical thriller with horror/suspense. It's a modern update to the classic suspense style of film-making that Hitchcock did so well. 8/10
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