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'Bon Voyage' **** 061005
The Work = ****
He is not alone however, as it seems that just about anyone who comes into contact with her falls in love. She often makes the best of her attention pulling the suitors from one direction to the other to help her get what she wants. Her current fiancé is high ranking politician Jean-Etienne Beaufort played by the talented Gerard Depardieu.
Frederic is the childhood friend of Viviane and is so smitten that after she lands him in jail (the man has some serious bad luck,) he refuses to give her up. In jail, Frederic meets the thief Raoul (Yvan Attal.) The Nazis invade and the prisoners are shipped out. In all the commotion Raoul and Frederic escape and form a friendship.
This film will not be for everyone. While it is a comedy to be sure, it has a lot of drama too. One thing about European cinema is often the filmmakers seem to be able to make comedies that have a lot of genuine drama that never seems forced or soap opera-y’. Take the British TV series 'The Office' or the British horror film 'Shaun of the Dead'. Both were comedies but they also had very dramatic passages. They were both somehow able to play to both genres and in the case of 'Shaun of the Dead' still be a full fledge horror/ dramatic and a comedy flic’. In the case of The Office a comedy and a workplace drama.
Here, there is drama and we see the plight of a people caught in the midst of a loosing battle. Incompetent leaders argue and debate surrender while civilians flee in hordes as the Nazi’s quickly advance. There is a lot to like in 'Bon voyage'. I especially liked a sequence where Raoul comes to the rescue of a professor’s assistant stopped in a vehicle about to be taken away.
The performances are all great. Adjani is mesmerizing and becomes more so when one realizes she was 42 when she filmed the movie! (She looks like she’s in her late twenties.) I liked Attal as the thief and also liked American actor Peter Coyote who manages to more than one language here.
'Bon Voyage' is a slow movie but a fun, rewarding one. It’s easy to recommend. It is subtitled so I suppose if you are one of those people that just cannot deal with subtitles this will not appeal to you. (Although, honestly, if you are an adult you should just learn to read ‘em.) Recommended.
DVD = ***
All Together = ****
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