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Friday, July 3, 2009

REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER / SEE HOW THEY FALL (1994)

Jacques Audiard joined the hyphenates scripting & helming this pic that has two converging stories. One deals with the troubles of two mismatched con-men, Jean-Louis Trintignant plays the crotchety surrogate dad with a gambling addiction and young Matthieu Kassovitz is an emotionally needy simpleton who's loyal to a fault. The second plotline follows the mid-life crisis of a failing salesman (Jean Vanne) who bungles his way thru an inpromtu stakeout, losing his cop pal to a mob shooting. Audiard can’t quite be bothered to sort out the plot lines (character is more his thing), but the up-sweep is that Vanne ends up on the trail of Trintignant & Kassovitz who have become tagteam assassins to pay off the gambling debts to the same mob boss. By film’s end, any original goals have morphed into something new and deadly, but tinged with a bit of mercy and maybe a bit of hope for the future. Got that? Audiard almost pulls this wonderfully original idea off, but he’s awfully cavalier with narrative details so you may have a hard time swallowing the next plot twist. Still, it’s often smartly handled on the technical side and crammed with great perfs, especially from Kassovitz who manages to find lots of fresh nuance to his slow-thinking man-puppy. Too bad the current DVD edition is such a smeary transfer.

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