A fishing trip in the Aegean Sea among a sextet of friends becomes the perfect setting for a relentless contest of male dominance. Everything can spark a fierce competition; but, only one can wear the precious chevalier. Who will it be?
In the middle of the Aegean Sea, six men on a fishing trip on a luxury yacht decide to play a game. During this game, things will be compared. Things will be measured. Songs will be butchered, and blood will be tested. Friends will become rivals and rivals will become hungry. But at the end of the journey, when the game is over, the man who wins will be the best man. And he will wear on his smallest finger the victory ring: the Chevalier.Written by
This film has the six men on a diving and fishing trip in the Greek islands (accompanied by three, later two, staff on the boat) getting into a competition game about finding out who is the "best in general" among them. While they do some specific competitions, in principle all their behavior down to the tiniest detail is up for rating by the others. We see them taking notes about each other all the time, and most conversations somehow circle around their game; but because the game involves everything, whatever they talk about is by definition part of the game. Besides the interactions and communication, we get some very well done cinematography both of the wonderful setting and the men and their boat that at times can be read as comment on what goes on between them.
The idea of the film is original and fascinating, and the comedy and more serious aspects here work very well together. This is one of the films where humour comes from precise observation of the characteristics and psychology of the protagonists, their conflicts, and from realizing how ridiculous human interaction can be, while at the same time trying to be credible and even deep (different viewers may have different ideas about how realistic and credible all this is but my life experience doesn't make it seem all too outlandish; certainly the temptation of rating and competition on just about anything is very familiar to me).
The film can make you think about competition, masculinity, the obsession of the postmodern society with quantification and rating and its impact, what "criteria" one can think of to rate a person, the role of sexuality, how different protagonists take different aspects of the game seriously, how hard it is to stay outside when things become really tense, and the meaning of the impact the game has on the boat staff.
My quibble with the realism of all this is probably that irony and sarcasm are largely left to the director and the audience but are in critically short supply among the protagonists (which is a problem in many films; from the distance of a director's chair it seems to be very difficult to imagine how people are at times able to observe an ironical distance from themselves). I can in fact easily imagine things to become as tense as they do in the film, but I'd expect the men to at least attempt/pretend to take things in a more light and bantery manner while they get there; although there's obviously a comic effect for the audience in their seriousness.
Apart from this I was fine with the acting, and I had certainly enough to laugh, given that the film has plenty of qualities apart from humour. This is a pretty good and (as far as I know) unique film and I recommend it to everyone who likes the combination of wit, psychology and food for thought that we get here.
This is my first review and already I find myself dithering about whether I should rate this 8 or 9, I say 8.5 rounded up.
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