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Un couple épatant 2002
Description: A woman, concerned by her husband's eccentric behavior, hires a detective to follow his each transport -- which yields unexpected results.
Released: 01 Jan 2003 Director: Lucas Belvaux Writers: Lucas Belvaux Actors: Ornella Muti, François Morel, Valérie Mairesse, Dominique Blanc Genres: Comedy, Romance
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Un couple épatant Reviews:

"On the Run (Cavale)" is the first third of an engrossing experiment in storyline saying that crosses "Rashomon" with a tv miniseries to present us an ensemble of intersecting characters over a couple of days to gradually reveal the complicated truth about each. Writer/director Lucas Belvaux uses a intelligent technique to communicate just how differently the characters perceive the same situations-- they are literally in various films and, a la "Rules of the Game," everyone has their reasons. "On the Run"is a tense, fast-paced escaped con on-the-run Raoul Walsh-feeling film, with the auteur himself testing a Humphrey Bogart-type who can be cruel or kind; "An Nice Couple (Un couple épatant)" is an Ernest Lubitch-inspired laugh-out-loud comedy of mistaken communication; and "After the Life (Après la vie)" is a Sidney Lumet-feeling gritty, conflicted cop melodrama with seamy and tender moments. "Time Code" experimented turning the two-dimensions of movie into three with multiple digital video screens. This trilogy is more effective in showing us what happens as characters leave the frame. Belvaux goes beyond the techniques used in the cancelled TV series "Boomtown" or the movies of Alejandro González Iñárritu in "Amores Perros" and "21 Grams" with their stream-of-consciousness flashbacks hero by character.I don't see how I can deal with every movie separately. Theoretically, one can see the three films alone or independently out of order, but that would be like watching one episode of a series like "The Wire" or "The Sopranos" and wondering what the large deal is. Only a handful of patrons in my theater joined me in a one-day triple-feature; I guess the others have a better memory than I do that they should see every movie on separate days, though a marathon does inevitably lead to some mind-wandering that should miss necessary clues and revelations so this is ideal for a triple-packed DVD. On DVD we'll be able to replay the perfect acting to see if in fact the actors do shade their performances differently when particular scenes are enacted from various characters' viewpoints -- are these takes from the same staging or not? How is every subtly various that we receive a various impression every time? Or are we bringing our increasing knowledge (and constantly changing sympathies) about every hero to our impressions of the repeating scenes? One reason this conceit works is because of the unifying theme of obsession - every hero is so fully single-minded in their focus on one trouble that they are blind to what else is event even as they evolve to search catharsis. One is literally a heroin addict, but every has their psychological addiction (revenge, co-dependence, hypochondria, jealousy). The slow revelation technique also works because of the parallel theme of aging and acceptance of the consequences of their actions, as some can face how they have changed and some can't change. You need to see all three movies to learn about every character's past and conclusion, as secondary characters in one movie are thrust to the fore in other in explaining a key piece of motivation. The only zone they really interchange is in an ironically, meaningless political debate at the public high school they every have some tie to.


Lucas Belvaux's trilogy of movies is meant to be taken as one multi-faceted unit, and indeed it is greatest viewed as such. The first (as I saw them), "On the Run," was a `thriller' with the main character, a convicted terrorist (Belvaux himself), escaped to settle scores and look up an old flame (Catherine Frot) who has settled down with a family. There we got our first glimpses of a relationship between the escapee and the drug-addicted wife (Dominique Blanc) of a down on his luck cop (Gilbert Melki), and the first tips of the happenings in this second film, a romantic comedy, "An Nice Couple" ("Un couple épatant"). The comedy is about a fearfully hypochondriac husband (François Morel) and his loving wife (Ornella Muti (DeLaurentiis' "Flash Gordon"!)) who is driven to suspicion. The trilogy ties up with a hero study (or `melodrama'), "After the Life," about Melki's cop and Blanc's drug-addled wife. The romantic comedy and `melodrama' work fine as stand alones, and are even enriched by the angles explored and explained by the another films. Only the thriller is really hobbled by it's involvement with the another interwoven stories. All three could be seen together, though. Or, as a mate recommended, maybe I could just watch Kieslowski's `Three Colors' trilogy instead…?


The Belgian director's trilogy, number two as shown in the US, but shown first in French theaters, this is a domestic comedy (the game is ironic) about a hypochondriac and increasingly paranoid tiny tech business owner Alain (Francois Morel) who runs around hiding from his wife that he's going to have a very minor operation because he absurdly thinks it's going to be the death of him. His wife Cecile (Ornella Muti) senses that he's sneaking around and, thinking he's having an affair, gets her mate Agnes' cop husband (Gilbert Melki) to follow him, which makes him more paranoid. Eventually things end up at the chalet where Belvaux's escaped political prisoner hero (central in the Cavale/On the Run panel) is hiding--the chalet being the main url with another episodes. This is generally and not without reason considered the weakest of the three movies in The Trilogy. It's thin and repetitious cute much throughout, and though poised as a comedy, its main character's obsession with death is hardly funny.As one French critic wrote, he might have done better if he'd just made one nice film. Mahohla Dargis wrote that 'The Trilogy' was "more conceptually fascinating than cinematically engaging." "'The Trilogy'" (she also wrote) "is nothing if not a logistical coup. Inspired by the method category determines meaning, Belvaux used three editing squads to shape his overlapping stories and the effects are (these three films)." In the third, which I haven't seen yet, 'Apres la vie'/'After the Life,' the category is drama (or melodrama) and in it Melki, the cop, falls in love with Cecile, the wife who's hired him to investigate her husband. It's generally accepted that Melki shines in 'The Trilogy'. I also like Catheriine Frot, who is necessary in 'Cavale.'Belvaux's 'Trilogy' is nice potential material for a movie course (comparison of genres, alternate takes, etc.), but the primary content of every movie should be better. The hope with Belvaux's 'Trilogy' has to be that the entire is more than the parts.



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