- Published on Saturday, 09 June 2012 09:46
- Written by Martin D Goodkin
For the second week in a row I saw a winner of a movie when I picked to go and see, “The Intouchables”, instead of another Hollywood, sci-fi, special effects overloaded, summer blockbuster. “The Intouchables” has been number 1 on the French most popular film list for 10 weeks and is the most successful French film in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Israel and has now opened in the USA.
The film is based on a true story, one that we have seen fictionalized in many movies, and all the cliches are there but the two leads make it a unique film. Francois Cluzet plays Philippe, a very wealthy, white man who lost his wife of 25 years and then, after going hang gliding winds up paralyzed from the neck down. Francois Cluzet does more acting with his head and face then most actors do with their whole body. Omar Sy plays Driss, a Black man, a hoodlum, with lots of rhythm, who becomes Philippe’s caretaker and introduces him to grass along with Earth, Wind and Fire and takes his boss on adventures. Meanwhile his boss.lets him drive his Maserati, takes him for a ride in his private jet and makes him hang glide.
The supporting cast is top notch and one story line doesn’t end like you might expect but these two actors are mesmerizing. Sy has a smile and personality that fills up the screen while Cluzet looks a lot like Dustin Hoffman and steals many a scene with a nod of his head or a smile on his face. The magic they have together makes you overlook what might be some offending scenes and lines, plus avoiding challenges that the relationship between a white Frenchman and an immigrant black man originally from Africa, just recently released from jail, and who steals a Faberge egg from his new boss.
The film is co-written and co-directed by Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache. They make the actors very appealing and we feel affection for them almost from the opening shot. The opening shot basically tells us the story, and where it is going, but we laugh as we go along on their journey and some, like me, may even shed a tear. The music track includes Nina Simone singing “Feeling Good”, George Benson’s “The Ghetto” plus classics like Vivaldi’s “4 Seasons” which adds to the feelings you have for the 2 guys.
The movie is supposedly going to be remade in Hollywood, but even they couldn’t come up with a more illogical Hollywood ending and, yet, make it work. Don’t know who would play Sy’s role but it might be interesting if Dustin Hoffman did the Philippe.
At the end of the credits they give the names of the men the story was based on but I didn’t catch them and I tried googling and binging but couldn’t come up with what had been a documentary. When you see the film let me know their real names.
Should you want to see a film with heart, two superb performances by Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy plus a few laughs, not to forget that possible teardrop, go see “The Intouchables”.