264) Two Days, One Night (2014) “Deux jours, une nuit” (original title)
Sandra, a young Belgian mother, discovers that her workmates have opted for a significant pay bonus, in exchange for her dismissal. She has only one weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses so that she can keep her job.
6/10 – I don’t think I ‘got it’. Maybe it is because I am not too familiar with The Dardenne brothers style of work, but lack of prior knowledge about the director shouldn’t be enough to sway my entire opinion on a film. It’s been universally lauded by the critics, citing Marion Cotillard’s (Rust & Bone, The Immigrant) performance as one of the best of the year. With that part I am inclined to agree, it’s an incredible performance and without her in it I don’t believe I would have continued watching the film. She is so natural in her style, it appears effortless and the range of emotions she is able to display makes her simply compelling viewing.
However, despite her best efforts I just could not connect with this film. I felt no tension, no build – all I saw was someone asking for their job back for 90 minutes. I know that comes across as strange, because how can you buy into a person, and not the film, when the film is mainly about that one person? I can’t answer that. I felt connected to Cotillard’s character, but not the cause.
Someone rightly pointed out to me, that Locke, which I highly rated, was essentially a bloke in his car sorting stuff out, a similar line of banality. But in this instance I felt the tension, and it’s a great comparison because Tom Hardy and Marion Cotillard are two of the finest people on the screen at the moment. Perhaps it was more relatable, more realistic in it’s scenarios, more mysterious as it unfolded. I bought into it, I got it.
I’m happy to admit that perhaps I didn’t ‘get this’. It’s normally the universal comeback from people when you have a different opinion on a film to the majority, but I will beat you to it. I will give it another watch, and as part of the reviews next year I’ll be revisiting a lot of these films and many of my favourites, because a lot of them deserve a second, third, fourth viewing.
As for this, if you like subdued french drama, then this is for you. If you like Marion Cotillard (who doesn’t?) then this is for you. I like both of those things, but maybe you will have better luck with it than I did.