A computer systems engineer (director and co-writer Harel) has been accelerating on the downward slope ever since his girl finished with him, leaving him listless, cynical, socially timid, touched by self-pity, and so passive and prey to confusion that the very idea of buying a new bed becomes impossibly problematic. He's lucid enough to know he's suffering some sort of breakdown, but still finds it increasingly difficult just to survive. His masturbatory fantasies become ever more misogynistic and violent, while the camaraderie offered by a likewise lonely but considerably less taciturn colleague, Tisserand (Garcia), offers little respite. Meanwhile, Our Hero's private philosophy, juggling notions of injustice and inequality in the economic and sexual arenas, gets more garbled. Adapted from Michel Houellebecq's best-selling first novel, this is certainly fascinating as a foray into the darker byways of the male psyche. For sure, the protagonist's miserabilism sometimes verges on black comedy, and, until Tisserand turns up, the secondary characters tend towards caricature. But the relationship between the two workmates is beautifully handled and the creation and control of atmosphere deftly managed. The closing moments are both unexpected and affecting.