The Big Picture [L'Homme qui Voulait Vivre Sa Vie]

"Excellent"

The Big Picture [L'Homme qui Voulait Vivre Sa Vie] Review


An intriguing variation on The Talented Mr Ripley, this French dramatic thriller holds our attention mainly because of the hugely engaging Romain Duris. The plot is a little loose and fragmented, but we can't take our eyes off him.

Paul (Duris) is a successful Paris lawyer living in suburban bliss with his wife Sarah (Fois) and two lively sons (Cacote and Antic). But just as his boss (Deneuve) offers him the chance of a lifetime, Sarah pulls the rug out by asking for a divorce. So Paul confronts the man (Ruf) he holds responsible, and this starts a dizzying journey as Paul makes a series of decisions that change his life completely. Along the way he meets a drunken newsman (Arestrup) and a sexy editor (Katic) who spark even more unexpected actions.

The film is so tightly centred on Paul that a lot of what happens seems not to make sense, simply because we don't have the whole picture, as it were. This is either because Paul doesn't know the details or because he's hiding them, and the result is that we can't help but sympathise with him even when he does something that seems inexplicable.

Duris is amazing in the role, holding our attention tightly even though he's far from the typical leading man. We feel every pang of emotion, fear, anger and resignation. And like him, we don't always like what happens. Meanwhile, director-cowriter Lartigau keeps the atmosphere taut, but never over-eggs it.

So the intensity is sharply heightened by extended sequences in which there seems to be no threat at all.

As it continues, the script folds in a continual sense of irony and fate, as if Paul is destined for something that he has no control of, even as past events continually circle back around him in unexpected ways. To say any more would be to give away several very clever plot turns. They're not exactly surprises and they don't always hold water, but the way the film keeps us constantly guessing what Paul (and the filmmakers) will do next is thoroughly entertaining.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Production compaines: EuropaCorp

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Eric Lartigau

Producer: Pierre-Ange Le Pogam

Starring: as Paul Exben, as Sarah, as Anne, as Bartholomé, Esteban Carvajal Alegria as Valéry Grey, as Ivana, Eric Ruf as Grégoire Kremer, Enzo Caçote as Hugo Exben, Luka Antic as Baptiste, Rachel Berger as Fiona Exben

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.