8:00 PM, 21st February, 2013
One reason the movie Crocodile Dundee was so successful was that it used the ever-popular ‘fish out of water’ theme. (“That’s not a knife. This is a knife.”) Likewise, much of the humour of The Intouchables is derived from the very poor petty criminal Driss (Sy) being a fish out of water in the mansion of his very wealthy employer Philippe (Cluzet).
Philippe is a quadriplegic requiring around-the-clock care by his valet Driss. Philippe’s friend Antoine warns him against Driss’s criminal record, stating “These street guys have no pity.” Philippe replies, “That’s want I want… no pity”. This point of treating a human being as a human being, not as a medical condition, is highlighted by an hilarious montage of very qualified applicants for the job of Philippe’s valet – eventually filled by the unqualified but very human Driss.
As in any good French farce, there are numerous subplots which eventually have a humorous denouement. And as in any good comedy, there are also poignant moments of tragedy interspersed. But ultimately The Intouchables is about an unlikely friendship.