Night Shift
Company team. Pierre (Laroche) is bullied at the staff basketball game...
Trois Huit
dir-scr Philippe Le Guay
with Gerald Laroche, Marc Barbe, Luce Mouchel, Bastien Le Roy, Bernard Ballet, Michele Cassagne, Alexandre Carriere, Maria Verdi, Jean-Francois Lipalus, Sabri Lahmer, Philippe Frecon, Frederic Gibot
release UK 1.Feb.02
01/France 1h33

3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
This dark psychological drama isn't terribly easy to watch, but it is very observant filmmaking. Pierre (Laroche) gets a job on the night shift in a bottle factory, and from day one he's tormented by coworker Fred (Barbe). Is it good-natured teasing, latent homosexuality or flat-out bullying? Pierre isn't sure, but as time goes on he really starts worrying, afraid to say anything to his wife (Mouchel). Then Pierre's son (Le Roy), who himself is bullied at school, enters the fray.

Writer-director Le Guay keeps us guessing as we watch these two men--and their colleagues--circle around each other. It's a fascinating blending of machismo and emasculation, filmed in a gritty style using real locations and natural lighting. Performances are natural as well; Laroche makes sure we know Pierre isn't used to being pushed around, so his disorientation is palpable. Meanwhile, Barbe's Fred is a mercurial charmer--likeable, monstrous, helpless, seething. As the tension builds the whole thing becomes so uncomfortable that we want to look away ... yet we stay glued to the screen to see how these grown men sort out their juvenile problems. In the end it's all a bit small and intricate for the big screen, but it's a nice alternative to the usual overblown Hollywood stuff out there. And a clever contrast to the more overt suspense of a vaguely similar French thriller, Harry He's Here to Help.
adult themes, language, violence cert 15 28.Jan.02

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2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall