Thursday, 12 July 2012

The Intouchables (2012) Review by Shivom Oza – The French Emote And How!

3.5/5 Stars

Based on the book "You Changed My Life" by Abdel Sellou, ‘The Intouchables’ is an uplifting comedy about human bonding, trust and hope. It is about the friendship between a handicapped millionaire Philippe (François Cluzet) and his caretaker Driss (Omar Sy). It begins with a false start for Driss, who finds it difficult to adapt to this new routine where he has to literally ‘baby-sit’ his master. Subsequently, he gets closer to Philippe, hence developing a close friendship. There are a lot of funny moments in this film. Embedded within them are some harsh realities that exist in any human society. During its closing moments the film fills the viewer with a lot of hope and goodness (much needed in this day and age).

The performances are excellent. François Cluzet, who plays the rich quadriplegic, gives a brilliant performance. In spite of being confined to a wheelchair throughout the film, he manages to hold your attention till the very end. Be it in the scene where he fakes an epileptic attack or one in which he is getting turned on by a lady masseuse rubbing his ears, François acts to sublime perfection.
As for the caretaker played by Omar Sy, the character had to be goofy, intense, compassionate, helpless, righteous, directionless and so much more at the same time. Omar Sy’s role was a tall ask, and the actor performs with a lot of ease.

The writing was the most interesting aspect in the film. The film was interspersed with understated scenes and subtle dialogues. There was nothing over-the-top about the performances. No emotional outbursts, unnecessary tears or pointless melodrama. This film was purely about the relationship between a master and his caretaker. The friendship part, although not blatantly portrayed, did appear at regular intervals.

The story moves along nicely in spite of not having too many side-tracks. The film was more of a collection of moments, than being a narrative. The film speaks less, yet ends up conveying so much more.

The music (by Ludovico Einaudi) comprises an eclectic mix. The selection was great and even the background score perfectly tailors into the narrative of the film.

Since this French film was dubbed in English and not subtitled, it would not be possible to comment on the dialogue delivery of the artistes. However, the dubbing is neatly done. Not for a moment do the words and the lip movement seem out-of-sync. Since the operative language was French, it must have been much easier for the dubbing artistes to pull off the dialogues. The dubbed version is perfect for the Indian audiences, since a majority is not accustomed to watching foreign-language films with subtitles.

The directors (Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano) do a marvellous job of adapting this story. Although, the film does run a little long at 2 hours, the message is well-intended and conveyed well.
A simple plot about complex relationships along with an enthralling score and brilliant performances, make ‘The Intouchables’ a must-watch.

The Intouchables has grossed more than $300 million worldwide (excluding the US), which is a record for a foreign-language movie. Omar Sy has bagged a Cesar Award for Best Actor (the first Black actor to ever do so). Hence, if not for the touching storyline and the heart-rending performances, watch it for it’s been accepted worldwide. You should accept it too. (First Posted in MSN)

Shivom Oza

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