A throw of the dice

A throw of the dice
Original title:Un coup de dés
Director:Yvan Attal
Running time:85 minutes
Release date:Not communicated
Mathieu owes everything to his friend Vincent: his house, his job, even saving his life ten years ago. Together with their girlfriends, they form an inseparable foursome, and live an unclouded life on the Côte d'Azur. But Mathieu's loyalty is put to the test when he discovers that Vincent is cheating on his wife. When Vincent's mistress is found dead, suspicion sets in at the heart of both couples, accompanied by its procession of cowardice, lies and guilt...

Mulder's Review

Yvan Attal's Un coup de dés is a cinematic journey that strives to combine the nuances of a character study with the suspenseful appeal of a domestic thriller. Yet, despite its laudable efforts, the film fails to deliver the riveting impact to which it aspires.

The story centers on Mathieu (Yvan Attal), a man who owes everything to his friend Vincent (Guillaume Canet): his house, his job and even his life, saved by Vincent ten years earlier. The two couples, and their partners, lead a seemingly happy life on the Côte d'Azur. However, Mathieu's loyalty is put to the test when he discovers Vincent's infidelity. As the mistress eventually dies, suspicion, cowardice, lies and guilt infiltrate the relationship, exposing the facade of their idyllic existence.

Originally conceived as a comedy by Éric Assous, Yvan Attal and co-writer Yaël Langmann transformed the script into a domestic thriller. The film follows the misadventures of an ordinary man, brilliantly played by Yvan Attal himself, whose life takes a tumultuous turn when he succumbs to the charms of his best friend's mistress. The mechanics of the thriller fall into place, relying on the protagonist's unfortunate choices, motivated largely by his inherent cowardice.

However, the film takes its time to delve deeper into the story of the two friends, resorting to intrusive voice-over narration. It's only when Alma Jodorowsky's charismatic character enters the picture that the story really begins to captivate. Unfortunately, the male characters struggle to acquire any real depth, portraying them as cunning but ultimately weak. This choice of narration constitutes a narrative weakness, as the audience fails to become fully invested in their fate.

Guillaume Canet plays a real estate tycoon in the throes of a mid-life crisis, while Yvan Attal plays a seemingly loyal man entangled in perpetual cowardice. The film revolves around the latter's inability to face up to his actions, which ultimately drags everyone around him down with him. Interestingly, the female characters are the most captivating elements of Un coup de dés. Maïwenn is convincing in her role as the betrayed and unstable wife, and Marie-Josée Croze deftly navigates her role as the overconfident partner. However, the real revelation comes from Alma Jodorowsky, who plays the young woman struck by misfortune despite her innocence.

Visually, the film adopts the aesthetic of classic domestic thrillers, drawing inspiration from Hitchcock and Chabrol. However, it fails to capture the atmospheric intensity associated with these cinematic giants. Despite Dan Levy's Hitchcock-esque score, Un coup de dés fails to maintain the characteristic atmosphere of its predecessors.

The film's most intriguing aspect lies in its exploration of the relativity of human experience. Like Attal's previous works, the film explores the complexity of human relationships, focusing on the intricate nature of passionate love. The story, which explores both adultery and a tragic domestic accident resulting from a lover's quarrel, refrains from assigning blame, emphasizing that anyone could find themselves in the characters' inextricable situations.

While Un coup de dés presents an interesting and pertinent perspective on human relationships, its execution leaves much to be desired. The unnecessarily complex plot and thriller element don't result in a convincing cinematic experience. The film leaves viewers with a feeling of ambivalence, not quite living up to the expectations set by its premise. It doesn't fully exploit the thrilling potential of the genre, nor does it delve deeply enough into the societal reflections it alludes to, placing it among the forgettable entries in the domestic thriller field.

A throw of the dice
Directed by Yvan Attal
Produced by Olivier Delbosc
Written by Yvan Attal, Yaël Langmann
From the Éric Assous ' book Ball-trap
Starring Yvan Attal, Maïwenn, Guillaume Canet, Marie-Josée Croze, Alma Jodorowsky, Victor Belmondo 
Music by Dan Levy
Cinematography: Rémy Chevrin
Edited by Albertine Lastera
Production companies: Curiosa Films and Films Sous Influences
Distributed by SND (France)
Release date : : January 24, 2024 (France)
Running time : 85 minutes

Seen on January 26, 2024 at UGC Ciné-cité Les Halles

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