By – Matt Isard – Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano’s film Untouchable ticks all the right boxes
By – Matt Isard
Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano’s film Untouchable
ticks all the right boxes;
it’s based on a true story, it examines France’s class divisions, its
characters overcome tremendous hardships. With its strong feel-good factor
Untouchable could be the French answer to Slumdog
Millionaire. However Untouchable falls just short of Danny Boyle’s masterpiece for the simple reason that the story has
been told countless times before.
The film tells
the true story of the unlikely friendship that develops between Philippe (François Cluzet), a wealthy quadriplegic, and his
down-and-out carer Driss (Omar Sy).
It’s already taken France by storm since it was released back on 2 November 2011
where it was number one at the box office for ten weeks and has done well in a
number of other European countries including Germany, Switzerland and Poland.
On 20 March it became the highest grossing film not in English, taking over
The film contains
a lot of heart and humour, which likely explains its large box office result.
The relationship between Philippe and Driss has great on-screen chemistry. The
two actors show brilliant comic timing with each other that has the audience
laughing throughout the film. There are also some touching moments when it
becomes clear how much the characters have changed each other and need each
other. Each one starts at opposite sides of the spectrum; Philippe favours
classical music and contemporary art because it allows him to use his mind,
which is not impeded by his disability. Driss on the other hand enjoys dancing
and has no time for deep contemplation; hustling the money to feed himself is a
far more pressing concern. Gradually they grow together, with Driss teaching
Phillippe to live in the present, earthbound world, while Phillipe awakens in
Driss a love of art and opera, even inspiring him to take up painting.
Untouchable pushes all the right buttons, the audience should not expect to see
anything they haven’t seen before. The film follows the same lines as many
others before it, including the always necessary montage when the new
relationship is formed in fast-forward. The film easily grips at the heart but
it fails to engage the mind meaning that it is all too clear what will happen
in the next scene. This stops the audience from being fully wrapped up in the
narrative. All the jokes, strong performance and good intentions cannot make up
for the film’s predictability.
While not the
unqualified success its rapturous European reception would suggest, Untouchable
is certainly worth watching; it will brighten your day and confirm the strength
of friendship and human kindness. However, don’t try and outthink the plot and
ruin the warm glow that the film emits with great skill.