I love telling people that Russell Crowe recommended this film to me. It isn't really a lie, more like an exaggeration of the truth. I follow him on Twitter (so sue me) and he was raving this film a few years back, talking about how Jose Garcia was phenomenal in it. He got my interest, and considering that the Leading Male category is notoriously my favorite, and Russell Crowe is my favorite current leading man (so I trust his taste level), I had to bite here.
I'm so glad I did.
`Le Couperet' is a very modern take on the film noir. It isn't as stagey as the classics, and so it breathes with a little more follow-through, much like Curtis's '97 masterpiece, `L.A. Confidential'. The story told is that of Bruno Davert, a middle-aged business man, married with two children who is very good at what he does. Despite his loyalty to his company, downsizing and relocation costs him his job. Two years later he is still unemployed and the economy is at such a low that he can't find any work. Desperation devises a plan in his head where this otherwise rather sensible man becomes a cold blooded killer, tracking down anyone who stands in his way of getting a plum job in a well-to-do paper company. Sure, he's nervous but he has to do this.
Perfectly meshing two worlds (it is serious and dark and provocative and yet equally witty and humorous), `Le Couperet' is a gem of a film. The construction and pacing is splendid, never aching on particulars long enough to become tiresome, but constantly solidifying our attention with its sharp edits and story progression. And then there is Jose Garcia, who is flawless. He delivers one of the best performances of the aughts, delving deep inside this man's psyche to find the heart of his newfound chaos. The way Jose wears each murder on his skin (scrub with soap) is achingly realistic. He also understands how to shade this performance to find the nuggets of humor and even charm in this everyman-turned-killer.
Costa-Gavras directs a winner here, a film that is sure to entertain as well as provoke.