Saturday, September 05, 2009

Sauf le respect que je vous dois (Burnt Out)

Watching a movie because an actress is always risky, especially when you have seen one or two that you haven’t liked; but I will watch everything with Marion Cotillard even if she’s a secondary (but important to the plot) character.

The 2005 debut film by Fabienne Godet is a very dry film about a subject matter that I know is not for everyone, as is about how companies dehumanizes workers in the name of doing what is right for the business which includes long working hours, doing everything the boss asks as he wants you to do it, live in fear of being fired, jobless, and whatever else job pressure generates in office workers. But this is not an American story, so be prepared to have a different point-of-view, one that is more humane even when means becoming violent.

As a matter of fact the literal title translation is “With All Due Respect” which definitively does not mean “Burnt Out”. A terrible English title that in my opinion goes totally against what we see in this movie.

I find the movie dry because the first half where we see Benjamin’s (Olivier Gourmet) “perfect” life is kind of tiring; so tiring that becomes annoying and definitively puzzles after the fast beginning of the film. Obviously when the drama explodes it hits harder as the “perfect” life is torn into little pieces and the contrast is brutal.

Marion Cotillard plays Lisa, the total opposite of Benjamin and consequently, his complement. Also here is Julie Depardieu playing the inquisitive journalist. Both roles are secondary as this is a film about one character: Benjamin.

Not an easy to watch movie as when the story changes the contrast is really brutal and then tells something that definitively if you work in an American company (or an American style company) will not really please you how the story unravels. But the film has excellent tech specs (loved the multiple close-ups), not sequential storytelling that I really like better and great performances by the lead and secondary characters.

The film won the Golden Goblet for Best Director and Best Actor at the 2006 Shanghai fest, honors that are well deserved. I do recommend the movie ONLY to those that are sensible to a more humanized environment in business and really enjoy the particular style of very French cinema.


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

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