Monday, May 24, 2010

Harry un ami qui vous veut du bien (2000)

Somestimes, you just have to do a lot of research to find a nice thriller. Even though its script could have been improved, Harry un ami qui vous veut du bien will more than entertain you. Besides, it's rare to see a thriller in which the cast's performance always hits the right note.

Michel (Laurent Lucas) and his wife, Claire (Mathilde Seigner), are going to their summer house for their vacation. However, the temperature is hot and Michel's car has no air conditionning. No wonder their three kids are insufferable. Obviously, Michel stops his car at a gas station in order to have a break from his children. While he's in the men's bathroom of the gas station, Michel is approached by Harry (Sergi López).

According to Harry, Michel and him both went to high school together. However, Michel has no recollection of such a thing. This doesn't stop Harry from persuade Michel to let him sleep at his summer house. Besides, Harry's Mercedes has an air conditinning system and he brought Michel's kids in. During the first days at Michel's summer house, things with Harry are smooth and Michel's three kids appreciate the company of Prune (Sophie Guillemin), Harry's fiancée. However, as time goes on, Harry seems to be trying to cause harm to Michel's family.

Obviously, without being the best psychological thriller on the market, Harry un ami qui vous veut du bien still knows how to fascinate us. Although the script doesn't have enough flesh around its bones, the film fascinates us because of the cast's performance, especially Sergi López's. In fact, this actor has a knack of maintaining the facade of a nice person while looking, in actuality, like a manipulative psychopath with the expressions in his creepy eyes.

Besides, the film, at the beginning, efficiently keeps things under wraps that you just want to know what Harry wants to do with Michel. Remember: Harry remembers Michel so well that he can recite by heart a poem Michel wrote in high school. Besides, because he admired Michel, Harry wants to be Michel's literary patron and, besides that, wants to be serviceable to Michel.* Unfortunately, the subtlety defining the characters is Harry un ami qui vous veut du bien's own worst enemy at times. Indeed, it leaves some questions unanswered. For instance, did Harry secretly harbour a crush on Michel?

Finally, fans of Alfred Hitchcock won't have any difficulty to adore such a finely paced and unpredictable thriller. Even though the back story on Michel's and Harry's past days at their high school is kept in the dark, the script is nothing short of solid.

Rating: 4/5

Origin:France (2000)
Length:117 minutes
Genre:Psychological thriller
Screenplay:Dominik Moll and Gilles Marchand
Director:Dominik Moll
Starring:Laurent Lucas, Mathilde Seigner and Sophie Guillemin

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