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This is not the way it was supposed to happen. Like every other morning, Christian Echeveria, huissier, should have been able to levy his daily distress in this Parisian suburb, before going back to his comfortable home. But that's not what destiny had planned for him, as he'll get to understand it when Salem Atelhadj, 17, takes him a hostage, under his father's desperate eyes, in the tower's twelfth floor which will soon be surrounded by policemen and anti-terrorists squads. Written by
Good comedy with several unexpected turns of events
I saw this film as part of the Ghent filmfestival 2011. The announcement reminded me of Fase 7 (Goldbart; 2011), where an apartment building is quarantined due to some disease. From that moment on anything can happen: between neighbors, against the outside world, and inside an apartment. Though the film at hand went in a totally different direction than Fase 7, the fact that anything can happen is demonstrated here again. The main characters discover things about each other, revealing until then unknown sides. And the outside world, in the form of city council, police force and building owner, does not always work logically and efficiently. On itself nothing new, but such are the main ingredients. And still succeeded in keeping our attention span for the whole time.
Common to both films is that we are very much dependent on the main characters while being confined in such a closed environment. Are they believable, do we get their motives, is there enough material to entertain us for a feature film duration?? Given the starting situation as outlined in the synopsis, we can only sit back and hope for the best, as no one can predict what will happen after the start. It is very difficult to describe the good things in this film without spoiling, but I'll try.
The story starts at 9/11, which explains that the police jumped to the wrong conclusion that the apartment became the target of Muslim terrorism. But the son's extraneous reaction when the police knocks on their door, is only caused by him having 10K worth of cocaine lying around, and that he suspects them coming for him. Nothing could be farther from the truth, as the police is just accompanying a bailiff collecting an outstanding debt from the father. From that initial moment on, developments scatter in many directions.
The internal struggles in the apartment (father, son and the bailiff who was taken hostage) on one hand, and the interactions with the outside world on the other hand, keep us entertained for 110 minutes. Circling around are the inevitable SWAT team, negotiators and other officials, who are not always as effective as we might expect. The trio in the apartment (father, son, bailiff) have their own problems in the mean time. And the bailiff who was taken hostage, creates some unexpected turbulence after phone calls with his wife, wherein she told to have just canceled a marriage counseling meeting. All in all, I saw a good comedy, with an ending that is a bit unexpected (again, I won't spoil it for you). Not a master piece that we will remember for years to come, but still good work. What impressed me most was the very long list of final credits.
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