Alex seems right for a fall; a slightly contemptuous, irritating and rebelllious accountant in Paris’s Porte de Lilas district, he’s outraged to be pulled up by Metro security for smoking and, mindless of his own vulnerability, bridles at the request of his employer to investigate the expenses of a colleague, suspecting (correctly, it turns out) that his chum is being set up as a sacrificial lamb to heartless economic efficacy. Thus agitated, he stands on his – supposed – rights as a citizen to observe an arbitary, possibly racist, police search and is banged up for obstruction. Thus begins a full-blooded Kafka-esque nightmare, as his bull-headedness – righteousness? – leads ineluctably to the psychiatric hospital. Cuau’s carefully calibrated drama feeds procatively on justified modern anxieties about the abrogation of personal freedom by modern society – be it corporate industry or state – and cleverly charts a line between paranoid thriller, satire and black comedy, helped to stay well within naturalist bounds by outstanding performances by Melki as the silenced strop and Kiberlian as his pragmatic wife. Unlike its poor victim, a film that won’t lie down.
Cast and crew