Un Ami Parfait

February 7, 2010By Heidi EllisonArchive

Perfect Friend, Imperfect Film

The confused Julien gets some comfort from the person claiming to be his girlfriend.

Director Francis Girod’s new film, Un Ami Parfait, is about a man trying to solve the mystery of his own life, or at least the past few months of it.

Having been found wandering in a daze on New Year’s Day with a head injury, Julien (Antoine de Caune) has lost his memory of recent events. After discovering that during that time he had left his wife, Anna (Carole Bouquet), and moved in with a girlfriend, Marlène (Martina Gedeck), whom he doesn’t even remember, he sets out to reconstruct what happened during the missing months, armed with a little notebook, in which he writes down clues, and a cell phone.

The second big shock comes when he returns to his job as a reporter at a daily newspaper and finds that he had quit during the blackout period. Everyone in the office except the secretary (all secretaries are nice, helpful people in this film) treats him very coolly, even his best friend and co-worker Lucas (Jean Pierre Lorit), who is acting strangely evasive.

Bit by bit, a story of corporate and individual corruption unfolds as Julien continues his investigation, discovering that he is not at all the person he thought he was.

This is a story-based film, absorbing and well-told, but cinematographically much is missing. The images have a bland, washed-out look (the film is mostly set in snowy Switzerland in winter, which doesn’t help), and the story is told at a too-steady pace, with one thing happening after another in a monotone way.

This thought-provoking story deserves a little Hitchcock-style fist-clenching suspense and perhaps some Hollywood action to give it extra punch. It’s still worth seeing, however, for the story and for the charm of Antoine de Caune.

Heidi Ellison

© 2006 Paris Update

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