Harry, Hes Here to Help

Harry (Lopez), he's got a thing about raw egg yolks...
Harry, Un Ami Qui Vous Veut du Bien
aka: With a Friend like Harry
Dominik Moll
scr Giles Marchand, Dominik Moll
with Sergi Lopez, Laurent Lucas, Mathilde Seigner, Sophie Guillemin, Liliane Rovere, Dominique Rozan, Michel Fau, Victoire de Koster, Laurie Caminita, Lorena Caminita
awards Best Actor Lopez (European Film Awards 00)
00/France 4 out of 5 stars
Review by Rich Cline
A creepy thriller along the lines of The Talented Mr Ripley, Dominik Moll's Harry gives the talented Sergi Lopez another chance to shine on screen while chilling the audience to the bone.

Michel and Claire (Lucas and Seigner) are a bundle of nerves after driving all day with their three cranky daughters. Then at a rest stop, Michel runs into an old friend Harry (Lopez), whom he hasn't seen in 20 years ... and can't actually remember. Soon, Harry and his fiancee (Guillemin) invade Michel and Claire's holiday home. But Harry's generosity and helpfulness make Michel wonder what he's up to. Surely it couldn't be anything nefarious!

The film builds its tone carefully and surely, adding suspicion and doubt to the comic overtones, and making us completely mistrust Harry long before we have any reason to. People just aren't this nice without a catch! Lopez is perfect in the role, likeable and trustworthy ... and yet just a little too bright-eyed. And Lucas matches this perfectly as a man unable to escape the distractions of his family and figure out who he is. Moll's direction isn't nearly as subtle or clever as, say, Hitchcock (or even Anthony Minghella), but he keeps the plot moving and us on the edge of our seats. And we never have a clue what will happen next, right up to the chilling conclusion.

[15--themes, violence] 26.Oct.00
UK release 10.Nov.00; US release 26.Jan.01

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"Dominik Moll's film is, without question, the finest film (to date) of 2000. I believe it marks the most remarkable young talent in world cinema since Tsai Ming-Liang from Taiwan, and the breakthrough of that rare breed of European filmmaker who can precisely balance the demands of art and the pure pleasures of playing an audience to the hilt. This, of couse, is rare the world over, and after I saw Harry at the American Film Institute International Film Festival, it hardly surprised me that my colleague at Variety, Todd McCarthy, told me that Harry was his favorite film at Cannes this year. In a remarkable year for French cinema (Beau Travail, Time Regained, Farewell Home Sweet Home, etc.), Moll's second feature is the standout, an instant classic which I would argue is superior to almost anything by Chabrol, to whom this film has been too glibly compared." --Robert Koehler, Los Angeles.

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2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall