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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

LA LOI DU MARCHÉ / THE MEASURE OF A MAN (2015)

Simply made in the old cinéma-verité/ documentary style, and all the more effective for it, Stéphane Brizé’s topical/award-winning film finds its drama following skilled-laborer Vincent Lindon as he looks for a new job. Middle-aged & downsized out of a well-paid tool-and-die union position, he does all the right things to get back on track. Retraining, deportment classes, Skype interviews, refinancing; each new humiliation quietly suffered. He’s lucky in his family with a sympathetic wife (though Brizé misses a trick in not letting us know if she works) and a great teenage kid, thriving in spite of various physical problems from cerebral palsy. (A scene with his school counselor is equally heartbreaking & wonderful.) Finally, Lindon (a professional actor surrounded by well-cast amateurs, he deservedly cleaned up on the award circuit) gets a decent, if depressing security gig at one of those huge faceless all-in-one superstores. He’s good at it, too. Note how Brizé jolts the drama ahead by skipping the steps that got him the position. And we’re so drawn in to Lindon’s improved fortunes that we’re relieved (to our shame) when a staff meeting is called, not as we suppose to announce a closing, but to deal with a tragic event. At the end, after overseeing one too many soul-draining, ego-bruising cashiered cashier incidents, Brizé offers a bit of prideful folly that doesn’t fully ring true. We’ve earned it.

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