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Dead Man's Hand (2002)

Petites misères (original title)
Jean V., bailiff of forty, plies his trade with talent but without showing humanity. He is married to Nicole, 35 years and consumer crisis. Regularly, Jean George uses the services, chronic... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marie Trintignant ...
Sjarel Branckaerts ...
Raymond Avenière ...
Nicole Valberg ...
Stéphane Excoffier ...
Christian Crahay ...
Le commissaire
Olivier Massart ...
Jacqueline Bollen ...
La prostituée
Jean-Marc Barthélémy ...
Le recordman de la position Vishnou
Ellen Blanckaert ...
Femme du recordman
Hélène Gailly ...
Le femme squelettique
Hervé Sogne ...
Le vendeur autos


Jean V., bailiff of forty, plies his trade with talent but without showing humanity. He is married to Nicole, 35 years and consumer crisis. Regularly, Jean George uses the services, chronic debtor and folk character, who helps in his "little tricks". Incidentally, George restores Nicole taste to buy. One day, Jean first met Eddy, a policeman who accompanied during his tour of seizures. But different between them and will take disproportionate dimensions. Pushed to the end, Jean decides to go with George a dark machination to give a lesson to a cop. Translated with Google Translate from allocine.fr Written by Becky Weaver

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Drama | Comedy


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Release Date:

6 February 2002 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Dead Man's Hand  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Occasionally funny, but ultimately dull
25 October 2007 | by (Philippines) – See all my reviews

Dead Man's Hand (Petits Misères) is an odd movie that seems to be a satire of consumerism but ultimately tries to become something deeper, with unsuccessful results.

Jean (Albert Dupontel) is a bailiff who spends his days confiscating goods from the heavily indebted. But what he doesn't know is that his depressed wife Nicole (Marie Trintignant), frustrated over his inability to sire children, is working out her problems through compulsive shopping under the tutelage of Jean's best friend Georges (Serge Larivière). Nicole and Georges also become lovers. Meanwhile, he also has to contend wit too-helpful cop Eddy (Bouli Lanners) who is slowing down the pace of his work.

The most notable element of this film is its surrealistic depiction of consumerism. From a scene in a supermarket, where the shoppers speed across the aisles in fast motion, to a shopping spree at a mall that becomes a dance number, the film adroitly skewers the consumerist mindset.

Unfortunately, the film is not a satire of consumerism. Rather, it's concerned with the domestic problems of Jean and Nicole, and her compulsive shopping is but a symptom of their martial woes. Jean and Nicole are simply not very interesting characters. The acting is just okay, although Trintignant steals what little there is to steal as the depressed Nicole. Even her bangs look like they're sad.

The movie starts to derail when Jean discovers Nicole's unfaithfulness and hatches a plan to resolve both his problems with her and with Eddy, with tragic results. Once the tragedy happens, the movie quickly resolves itself in an unsatisfying fashion. The movie actually tries for black comedy in its third act, but it doesn't work.

There's really not that much to say about this film, which is one of the entries in the Cine Europa 10 European film festival here in Manila. It's kind of obscure, which is not surprising. In fact, its sole claim to fame is the presence of Trintignant, whose career was cut short recently when she was murdered.

Is it worth watching? It's an okay enough time-passer, with a few funny and even inspired comic scenes. But its lack of substance and unsatisfactory resolution may make it seem more like a time-waster.

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