The Night Doctor: Review

The Night Doctor: Review

The Night Doctor is a French film from Elie Wajeman, present in the official selection of the festival of Cannes 2020. The film has been released in French theaters on June 16, 2021.  “Adoctor tries to extricate himself from the stressful work of treating drug addicts, the homeless and the destitute in difficult neighborhoods at night.”

“The Night Doctor” is a film noir with a social drama background which presents a very dark vision of Parisian nights. Elie Wajeman is used to work with quality French actors, such as Adèle Exarchopoulos and Tahar Rahim in “The Anarchists” (2015) or Pio Marmaï and Adèle Haenel in “Aliyah” (2012). This time he gives the lead role to Vincent Macaigne, a French actor, greatly appreciated and respected. He played in “Two Friends” (2015) alongside Louis Garrel and Golshifteh Farahani or in “Chien” (2017) but also in many other films.

“The Night Doctor” plunges us into an anxiety-inducing nocturnal journey during which Mikael’s naive kindness and ethics will lead him into various dangers. The writing of Agnès Feuvre and Elie Wajeman gives an excellent rhythm to the film and presents complex and well worked characters.  The film takes place over a single night, which allows us, as in the excellent “Good Time” (2017) by the Safdie Brothers, to witness a gradual rise in tension, linked to Mikael’s loss of  control.

We witness at a moment in Mikael’s life, where everything can change in one night, the stakes are such that he will have to make choices, which may cost him dearly.  As Elie Wajeman explains in an interview for Le Petit Bulletin, “Mikael is a doctor of bodies but also a doctor of souls at night”. 

The success of this film depends largely on the performance of Vincent Macaigne who interprets to perfection the different aspects of the character of Mikael. Mikael is a complete character, oscillating between a great sensitivity and an amazing physical strength. His desire to help is very touching but is also the reason why he can lose everything. He sees helping drug addicts as a necessity in a country where they are largely left behind. But he will have to face a very violent environment in which he will have to learn  how to be respected.

“The Night Doctor” is a great success and allows to highlight the brilliant actor that Vincent Macaigne is, whom we hope to see at the head of many films in the years to come. 

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