November 1918. A few days before the Armistice, Édouard Péricourt saves Albert Maillard's life. These two men have nothing in common but the war. Lieutenant Pradelle, by ordering a senseless assault, destroys their lives while binding them as companions in misfortune. On the ruins of the carnage of WWI, condemned to live, the two attempt to survive. Thus, as Pradelle is about to make a fortune with the war victims' corpses, Albert and Édouard mount a monumental scam with the bereaved families' commemoration and with a nation's hero worship.
This could have easily been a movie directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, if you consider the style, fashion, atmosphere, directing, acting, editing and so on...I strongly thought about JP Jeunet's UN LONG DIMANCHE DE FIANCAILLES all long this feature, and not because it is related to WW1 and also post war matters. Everything here is connected in a way or another in the Jeunet's film. That's my own opinion. The story itself, based on the Goncourt Prize winner, is rather surprising, unusual at the most. I don't quite remember the ending of the book and this one seems to be different, if you read the other French user comments on Internet. Maybe the ending is different, but the overall spirit of the novel is followed, faithful. Nothing is changed basically spoken. Only details. Some really moving sequences. And in this tale, you have NO totally good and true heroes. You have a real bad ass, a real heavy character, played by Laurent Laffite, as a ruthless and disgusting former assassin officer who killed two of his own men and who makes money on the war victims. The other characters are maybe better than him, but certainly not totally white. Swindlers, cheaters, liars, Dupontel's character himself can make you Dizzy from time to time. Dupontel was pretty lucky to make this high budget stuff for Gaumont productions. A daring topic. Worth watching for sure.
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