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Notre univers impitoyable 2008
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Released: 13 Feb 2008 Director: Léa Fazer Writers: Léa Fazer Actors: Alice Taglioni, Jocelyn Quivrin, Thierry Lhermitte, Pascale Arbillot Genres: Comedy
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Notre univers impitoyable Reviews:

On paper the synopsis of this second film by Léa Fazer ("Bienvenue en Suisse") looks very exciting. Indeed, this is the storyline of Margot and Victor, a couple of lawyers working for the same law firm, said twice, the storyline varying according to the premise that either he or she has been promoted to the rank of associate to the manager. This is of course not the first time that the device of two (or more) alternative realities has been used but seeing one alleged "reality" from few various angles is everytime thought-provoking. That's why I expected much from "Notre Univers impitoyable".To say the truth, my feelings after viewing the film, are mixed. I didn't really disliked it but I was a bit allow down, possibly simply because I had had too high expectations. Or else because the complete product delivered less than it promised. It is up to the reader to decide.There is no reason to complain about the acting. The star couple Alice Taglioni & Jocelyn Quivrin (a real-life couple, the trendy thing to do of late!) is okay and Thierry Lhermitte just excels as the villain of the piece. He has a knack for underplaying the despicable characters he is wont to enjoy that now enhances their sins. But the two actors who shine here are Pascale Arbillot as the unstable Juliette, Margot's single mother sister, and Scali Delpeyrat as Margot and Victor's shy colleague.There is also a fine satiric edge and the construction IS original, as the storyline changes course whenever one of the two heroes begins wondering how things should have been had HE or SHE been the selected one.And yet, despite these undeniable qualities, the effect is not wholly satisfying. The reason, to my mind, is that the method Fazer tackles her topics remains somewhat shallow. She all too often resorts to clichés (Margot serving coffee, Victor and his Maserati), which is a waste of time. On the another hand she does not go deep enough into the method a law firm functions. The working environment is examined to greater length and to better result in contemporary French movie like "No Smoking", "Violence des Echanges en Milieu tempéré" or "99F".All in all, not a masterpiece but a rather enjoyable flick for all that. Léa Fazer will certainly do better if she manages not to remain on the surface of things next time.


Within the same time, zone and actors, two various stories are said between fast shifts of the two scripts. Not everytime very clear,yet very well played by most of them. The struggle of family vs. successful work and wealth is a bit "ingenue", but keeps your attention. A "divertisement". The cinematography/ photos were of the greatest I've seen of late. And the melody matched what the camera shows quite well. At first, its beauty is dazzling. But in the end, it begins to sound menacing, cold and distant. La Défense seems like their apartment, their clothing, and probably their marriage: minimalist, perfect, and yet devoid of life. Sociology: There is a striking contrast between the small, overcrowded and anonymous famous flat Margot's parents inhabit. Theirs is a life more ordinary, like her sister's. But her parents seem satisfied in their marriage, or at least content. Whereas all the movie shows "how unhappy brash young and very successful cadres can be" unless... That's why I think the movie is written by, well, somebody who obviously doesn't like large companies, and who consequently casts some empathy on "love vs work". Consequently, all the movie is a situation in mission for the director's sensitive view: "a return to primary values". Depicted in modern terms, with cheeky melody in the end, but a XIX century morale, romanticism and all that. Alice Taglioni is very beautiful, I'm glad she didn't pursue a career as a pianist :). Her beauty is rather cold, but effective in what the director wants to show. Jocelyn Quivrin is fine specially as the "winner" of the job. Their secretary Éléonore has one of the greatest lines when she stops Victor in his tracks from leaving her wife for a mirage, a lover whom he idealizes because "she doesn't contradict him and has nice sex". Cutting but real!Obviously Lhermitte is nice at whatever he does, and in here, although I'd have liked to see a bit more of his manipulations, he does the despicable but able manipulator swiftly as usual. Maître Bertrand Lavoisier is probably the most likable character, the IMDb reviewer guy-bellinger was right of writing that. I accept to what he tells about the director Fazer resorting to clichés too often. The movie seems like a work made by a young author, still fighting with private issues, forcing contrasts to "make the point". Given this Swiss director is very young, I think it's not impossible to want she'll accomplish cutting portraits of social classes like, say, Claude Chabrol's.


You can almost hear the storyline conference; okay, we got these two actors who work well together, lotsa chemistry, lotsa laffs, all we need is a car ... I know, let's create them lawyers. That works for me but what about the conflict ... hmmn that's a toughie ... wait, I got it ... they both take the same case, one defends, one prosecutes and this leads to problem at home. Fantastic, they'll be beating a path to Loew's State when it goes on release. And so, between them, Ruth Gordon and husband Garson Kanin, with a tiny input from George Cukor, fashioned a screenplay they named Adam's Rib and they tailored it for Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy and their prediction was right on the money, it cleaned up. Thing is, that was back in 1949 and here's Lea Fazer taking that same primary premise of two married lawyers and putting a tiny spin on it by having them compete for the same higher job within the company. Had she said it in straightforward style she might have had something, after all, it did all right 65 years ago, but she had to receive fancy and begin switching viewpoints. Okay, Alice Taglioni is nice to look at, Thierry Thermitte never turns in a terrible performance but that, alas, is not quite enough.



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