The Intouchables (Untouchable)
Kathy Gleeson reviews the latest French Blockbuster
Thinking of French cinema I often consider it somewhat pretentious. Not so this time! Following hot on the heels of another French directed blockbuster, The Artist, along comes The Intouchables. Powerhouse production team, The Weinstein Company, backed both films. The Intouchables is a French speaking film with English subtitles but don't let this put you off. Based on a true story how two peoples worlds meet in extraordinary circumstances - a sort of buddy movie, if you will.
Phillippe (Francois Cluzet) is a wealthy and elegant Parisian who is paralysed from the neck down, following a hand gliding accident and depends upon constant care from others. Driss (Omar Sy) is a Senegalese immigrant from the wrong side of the tracks put forward by the French social security department to apply for the job of Phillippe's carer, which he becomes. Neither of them truly realises what is in store for each other. It is a touching story, of human interaction and discovering the commonality among us all, no matter how far fetched that connection might initially seem.
Phillippe's opulent Paris looks magical from every angle juxtaposed against the outlying bleak housing schemes inhabited by Driss. The film works on the basis that you look deeper at Phillippe's abilities and understand Driss's lack of pity for his employer. They treat each other as equals, viewing the world with wonder and delight.
They experience adventure, humour and sorrow together. It is rarely sugarcoated and vomit inducing. Some scenes are hilarious, others harrowing. With a killer soundtrack, this curveball of a movie will knock your socks off. Incidentally, Omar Sy has been cast in the next upcoming X-men movie...he's a star in ascendency. Enjoy tout le monde – a bien tot!