This is the longer version of short film Squash (2002) by same director Lionel Bailiu. The opening scene of the feature reproduces the entirety of the short, but with different actors (Malcolm Conrath and Eric Savin for the short, Jérémie Rénier and Eric Savin for the feature) See more »
Office politics and employment issues among key members of a company are taken outside and into various sporting activities.
First, we have in a squash court, CEO Charles and one of his key salespeople, Alexandre, a less aggressive man than Charles and who lost an important contract. Alexandre is having an affair with accounts manager, Nicole. She's pretty but has made an accounting error.
Then, we have jogging round a gentle assault course Nicole and rival salesman, Jean-Claude. He starts to needle her and then harassing her, seemingly with the aim to ask her to sabotage Alexandre's chances of landing the task of winning another big contract, so he can get it.
On the golf course, MD Edourd, who happens to be Nicole's father is having a round with Charles. Finally, a team building exercise in a flooded ravine has all of them talking, baiting and arguing and where the stakes - and drama - are that much higher.
The point is that, through the particular activity at the time, how far can these workmates push the boundaries of sportsmanship and fair-play? Squash balls get smashed into bodies, verbal and physical threats abound and rules flouted. Similar in the others, too.
It's a reasonably good and efficient way of having an otherwise conventional drama and turning it into something more interesting and believable. Manicured golf courses tend to look nicer than boardrooms, anyway!
Fair Play is quite different to the usual French fare that we normally expect. I saw it on the satellite French movie channel, Cinemoi. Radio Times didn't even list it online and IMDb had absolutely no synopsis to give an indication of what it was about.
Is it any good? Well, I wouldn't buy it but there again I was happy to see it for the small amount extra that Cinemoi costs. It's acted well, but most of it features the uglier sides of human nature - this is far from a sweet romantic and gentle comedy that French directors make so well. The dialogue is well written and the few characters that there are, believable. It's well filmed, too, with quite a fast moving camera (but not jerkily hand-held, thank goodness) that makes the most of some usually static locations.
I cannot readily compare it with any British of U.S film I can think of. It's more a play, but outside, in real situations. Take it as that and if you like human emotions running their natural course, then, it's fairly good, but not enough for 7/10.
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