Saturday, August 04, 2012

The Minister

Note to self - I must read the Film Festival program more carefully. Phrases like "existential fever of random self-perpetuation" and "transcends the satire or critique of any similar UK or US political thriller" in the description should warn me that the film is likely to go over my head. As I watched The Minister I found myself mentally groping around for a plot or some humour or a message from the film maker. There is a story in the sense that it shows the day-to-day life of a French cabinet minister and his underlings, but I could not say that there was a plot in the sense that the story took the characters from point A to point B for reason C. Perhaps that is the point. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Or in this case just having the power to change things does not mean you can change what you want.

That said The Minister (or L’Exercice de l’État) is dramatic, mostly frenetic and very well acted, but it is not a thriller. Things that seem trivial in one scene become a crisis in the next. The relationships between people can't be taken for granted. There are memorable set piece scenes such as the minister dancing around the office holding his much shorter (bald and not so pleased) right hand man off the ground. The opening dream scene is almost worth the price of admission by itself, in fact the rest of the film is almost an anti-climax by comparison.

It is also an object lesson on why I don't own a cell phone.

Ian's rating 2/5

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