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Director Philippe Le Guay's unusually low-key blue-collar psychodrama is deliberately gloss-free and was shot using naturalistic lighting - elements that add enormous realism to its central story of a power struggle between co-workers. Yet it's Le Guay's ability to make the viewer empathise with the lead character's moral dilemma that makes it so resonant. When Pierre (Gérald Laroche) switches to the lucrative nightshift in a glass factory, he becomes the target of a sadistic colleague's motiveless and increasingly brutal practical jokes. As the rest of the workforce stand by, the mild-mannered family man finally cracks under the strain of the relentless persecution and confronts his tormentor head on. Striking a menacing and disorientating chord, Le Guay brilliantly explores the oddly compelling - even homoerotic - relationship between the two men, superbly portrayed by Laroche and Marc Barbé. Barbé's wonderfully complex reading of the simmering, sociopathic bully is so effective that it's almost a relief when he's not on the screen.
|Director||Philippe Le Guay|