10/23/07

The Beat That My Heart Skipped

This French film was popular here in Seattle when it was released in 2005 but then I sort of forgot about it. I ordered it from the Seattle Library last July (2007) and finally got around to it!

This thriller features a thug doing strong-arm work for his personal real estate deals as well as for his slumlord father. You have to watch as he and his gang clear out tenants when their building is sold (it isn't pretty), and you also see his lowbrow father doing his own version of deal making.

The main thug, Thomas (Romain Duris) is ruthless and successful but he has a small crack in his fa├žade, he has a weakness for classical music; his mother had encouraged him to play when he was a youngster (she was a famous pianist) and he had been scheduled to audition for her manager just before she died. When he encounters the manager years later, he is still willing to allow our "hero" to audition.

The audition is a painful failure and is abruptly terminated. Thomas finds a classical piano teacher who can rehearse him so he can try again. She is a recent immigrant from Thailand, who is an extremely well-trained and demanding taskmaster.

You watch as Thomas's life splits into three very different paths: His love for classical music; his real estate "business"; and his father's selfish and unrelenting demands.

There are no familiar names or faces in this one, so it is easy to convince yourself that these people are real! The performances are excellent and the movie enjoyed uniformly high praise from the reviewers. "Stylish and suspenseful." "...emotions can be spread with a knife." "Brilliant and brutally poignant." "Unpretentiously fantastic!"