The Measure Of A Man


Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

A supermarket guard (Vincent Lindon) faces a moral quandry in A Simple Man (La Loi Du Marché).
"Stephane Brizé is a master of films that appear to say very little but actually speak volumes."

Stephane Brizé is a master of films that appear to say very little but actually speak volumes. After A Few Hours Of Spring and Mademoiselle Chambon he teams up again with Vincent Lindon who keeps getting better as he grows older, playing the head of a family trying to make ends meet in contemporary France.

It will have strong resonances in any country where social and economic problems prevail (certainly most of Europe). You expect Lindon to explode at any moment as indignity upon indignity is thrust upon him, such as the stock ritual of an employment officer trying to find him a job or the bank employee urging him to sell his only real asset - his house. There is even one ironic job interview conducted via Skype in which he is told his chances are zero.

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At home he appears to have a stable life but he and his wife (played by Karine de Mirbeck) have to care for their disabled and handicapped son (Matthieu Schaller) and to map out his future even although their prospects look bleak.

Eventually he ends up as a store security guard trying to prevent those in a similar position to himself from being prosecuted for shoplifting in a world where market forces rule supreme and can even lead to a tragic suicide.

Brizé’s attitude to social drama is similar to the work of the Dardennes Brothers or even Ken Loach, sparing no harrowing detail but ultimately indicating that people should grab what happiness they can along the way.

With a lot of hand held camera movement the narrative thrust of the film remains subdued and anyone hoping for a rousing resolution will be disappointed. Brizé delivers a slice of real life without compromise but not without hope.

Reviewed on: 18 May 2015
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A supermarket guard faces a moral quandry.
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Director: Stéphane Brizé

Writer: Stéphane Brizé, Olivier Gorce

Starring: Vincent Lindon, Karine de Mirbeck, Matthieu Schaller

Year: 2015

Runtime: 93 minutes

Country: France

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