With a Friend Like Harry... ()

directed by Dominik Moll
featuring Laurent Lucas, Sergi López, Mathilde Seigner, Liliane Rovere, Sophie Guillemin

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Dominik Moll directs this black comedy about a family outing gone to hell. The film opens with Michel (Laurent Lucas) and Claire (Mathilde Seigner) on the edge of a nervous breakdown in a cramped hot car with three screaming children. At a roadside rest stop, Michel meets Harry (Sergi Lopez) who, after some encouragement, recalls that they went to high school together. Harry and his girlfriend Plum (Sophie Guillemin) weasel their way into Michel and Claire's life, and soon the two are following the haggard family to their ...

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Jan 30, 2011

What Can Happen On A Hot Day.

Harry (Sergi Lopez) is a new kind of villain: he wants to help his old school acquaintance upon meeting up with him at a shopping centre. He looks so innocuous with his girlfriend, Plum (Sophie Guillemin) by his side, standing in the sun and smiling at Michel (Laurent Lucas), his wife, Claire (Matilde Seigner) and their three boisterous children. There begins one of the most absorbing thrillers ever to unsettle and confuse an audience.
Following Michel and Claire in his own car with Plum, Harry, personable, rich and intense, arrives not long after them at a deserted country house in the process of being renovated. It's soon clear that Harry is staying, ingratiating himself by reciting a long poem by Michel which was once published in their school magazine. His adoration of his old schoolfriend's talent throws a quirky, edgy feel into the mix, alienating Claire by his unwelcome announcement that Michel should be writing. Enter Michel's parents, the husband a dentist who once worked on Harry's teeth, both of them getting under their son's skin by their constant bossiness and harassment. Harry, Mr. Fix-it fixes it.
This tightly crafted film is a lesson on how to make thrillers. Nothing prepares you for the horrors and surprises that are to come, nor for the ending. The actors are terrific. Lopez with his heavy, handsome, glittering gaze more than carries his time on the screen. Seigner is lovely and sensible with just the right balance of wifely concern and impatience, and Guillemin's luscious, golden Plum adds more poignancy to the enfolding events. Laurent Lucas with his Prince Valiant fringe at first seems ineffectual and 'nerdy' as Michel, but gradually pads out his performance with the right amount of frustration and glimmers of enlightenment to show that he's simply a young man who is trying to cope.
Dominik Moll, writer and director, really knows how to keep up the pace, for this film is one of the most satisfying works to come out of French cinema. It's a winner.

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