I feel like I’m jumping onto the bandwagon here, but Intouchables is easily the pick of the crop so far in 2012.
The story focusses on the relationship between two, seemingly, very different men: Philippe and Driss, played rather brilliantly by Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy respectively. To say there is chemistry between these two actors would be the understatement of the year. Special mention must go out to Cluzet, who only has his face and head to work with, playing a paraplegic.
Philippe is a Parisian millionaire – paralysed from the neck down. He relies on constant care to eek even the slightest bit of pleasure out of life. Before his paralasys he was very much a thrill seeker. This may explain why challenges French African Driss to be his newest care taker/ male nurse. Driss is only interviewing for the position in order to collect a signature for his welfare check.
Driss, very much from the banlieu’s that surround Paris, has learned to live by his wits and says what’s what. His irreverent and humoristic approach appeals to Philippe who – from the off, realises that Driss sees him as a person not just a patient.
The film has a fast pace, and is technically well made. Those who surround Philippe distrust Driss, and he himself has a hard time shaking off the more difficult remnants of his past existance. But Driss manages to instill great pleasure in Philippes life. A subplot involves Philippes love life, and here the tension of being a paraplegic is palpable.
Already in danger of entering spoiler territory I would like to conclude that this is practically as good as film making gets. Perhaps the greatest achievement of this film is that it is never a sickly, treacly or soppy movie. If I could level a slight note of criticism it is that some of the more gruesome aspects of caring for a paraplegic are perhaps glossed over. I felt however that it would have added little to the story and taken us as viewers into a different territory than what the picture is about.
This buddy movie will send you out of the theatre with a heart full of joy.
My recommendation to anyone who loves film: GO SEE!!