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This French thriller from first-time director Thomas Kruithof is a frightful exploration in to the unknown world of political back channels, and what gets left in their destructive wake. Enter Duval, a burnt-out accountant who desperately needs a job – his AA meetings are part of his meticulous routine, as is his methodical puzzle making each evening, a clever metaphor used throughout. Speaking with Kruithof, I asked him a few questions:
What it was like to take the wheel for his debut feature?
Kruithof: “Cluzet read and committed at an early stage which was a huge help. I knew I needed him, as he is an actor who can give a lot of subtlety and, without many words, can show the inner workings of a character. I needed him to play Duval who had to show so much of his inner struggle, without being able to say anything.”
In a movie all about information, does having less of everything [settings, dialogue, exposition] make it more suspenseful?
Kruithof: “It’s all about information. All the characters are restrained – they don’t want to say too much. In this world of intrigue, information is currency and closely guarded. Duval also doesn’t want to ask himself these questions – the information of what he might find scares him.”
I asked him to elaborate on Duval.
Kruithof: “This is his journey of political awareness, something I think we are all experiencing in this new zeitgeist. It’s like we live in a world where we don’t understand, or don’t want to understand, the forces that drive this world.”
This movie is inspired by the Lebanese hostage crisis – what made you backdrop your movie with this story?
Kruithof: “There is a very real relationship between politics and political organizations, especially in a political campaign. Information is used by politicians to serve their own ambition. I felt like there was a mirror between him [Duval] and the hostages, between Duval and the faceless system he encounters, and I liked the thought that he as a single man shakes this system.”
He certainly does. Duval, a man tortured by his own inaction, is consistently forced to choose between turning the other cheek, or plunging himself in to more danger. And sometimes, he doesn’t even get to make the choice. This movie is incredibly suspenseful and will keep you wondering about the fallout the entire way through. A political movie fitting for this modern age – who are we in this world? And more importantly, who do we want to be?