A pharmaceutical company throws a gala party where all the employees from the top to the bottom are invited. Asked to participate in a role playing game which is actually a massive training... See full summary »
A pharmaceutical company throws a gala party where all the employees from the top to the bottom are invited. Asked to participate in a role playing game which is actually a massive training simulation for the management team, rumors begin to circulate the the company may be acquired and everyone begins vying to save his or her own skin. Written by
A group of elegantly dressed people enter a museum among windows filled with écorchés, skulls in cross-section and moldings of eye globes. The tone is set. "Rien de personnel" will be the modern equivalent of a vanity painting, showing the transience of success, the frailty of those who are at the top.
A powerful symbolical introduction indeed. But who exactly are these people?
We soon learn that most of them are the executives of a pharmaceutical company who have been invited by Muller (cynically haughty Pascal Greggory), their managing director , to a party celebrating the marketing of a new product. But petits fours and champagne are not the only pleasures on the menu. At the same time the guests' skills are being tested by the management through scenes played with coaches (i.e. actors). Not a very festive atmosphere, all the more as rumors of buyout and of layoffs start circulating
As you can imagine, the situation can only deteriorate, and it does! But this is the only thing you can be sure of. For the originality of the film is that it is told three times, each time under a different angle. This challenging device aptly shows that reality can be delusive. The writer-director first deceives the viewer the way Muller acts towards his employees then gradually reveals the truth. As a result, we find that not all the characters are the persons we believed they were in the first place and it is fun to discover their true faces after having been misguided by Matias Gokalp.
But this whodunit-like aspect of the film is only value added to the message of the film. "Rien de personnel" is for sure a brilliant stylistic composition but it is also - and I would say above all - an attack against the ruthless inhumanity of today's world of work, the absolute power of money, making man a wolf to man.
Wonderfully played by an excellent cast, particularly by the two leads (Jean-Pierre Darroussin in one of the most complex roles he ever played and Denis Podalydès very convincing as an hesitating shop steward ), "Rien de personnel" is also masterfully done by its helmer . Filming in two closed natural settings (a museum and a hospital in Chartres), with a set filled most of the time with actors and extras, skilfully dealing with three slightly different versions of the story, making 'Rien de personnel' must not have been a pleasure cruise. But Mathias Gokalp remains in command throughout, concluding his film as satisfyingly as he opened it.
Don't miss this first film by Gokalp. It combines intelligence and entertainment. Not such a bad cocktail,is it?
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