7:30 PM, 19th August, 2016
Perry (McGregor) is a restless armchair radical Oxford don, on holiday with his lawyer girlfriend (Harris) in the Caribbean. One day, by chance – or so he thinks – he happens upon Dima (Skarsgård), a Russian money launderer, who asks Perry to be the go-between in a complicated deal between him and British Intelligence. Perry has nothing to do with British Intelligence, but it’s possible he knows a chap who knows a chap; in any case, he’s happy to oblige.
This is all based on John le Carré’s second latest novel, which should tell you that while the subsequent plot won’t really be hard to follow, it will be rather hard to remember afterwards. And this effect is deliberate, as half the cast form shady, shifting, sort-of alliances with the other half and ultimately forget why they did – a central theme of le Carré’s spy stories is people getting into bed with people they probably shouldn’t get into bed with (metaphorically, of course, not in a Fifty Shades of Grey way). In this case, the primary abusive bedroom partner is the Russian mafia. They provide a constant undertone of suspense: we know that at any point in the story they might be about to lash out brutally at any of the main characters.
9:28 PM, 19th August, 2016
It appears that I have become the foreign language film expert for this semester’s booklet, as it is my job to convince you to come and see some of the best films from around the world. If you come along tonight, my mission will be mostly complete, because Mon Roi is actually one of the best films of the year so far.
We meet thirty-something Tony (Bercot) as she is laid up in a rehabilitation centre after a serious ski incident. As a therapist probes her about the cause of the accident, we journey through Tony’s recollections of her complex relationship with ex-husband Georgio (Cassel).
This is not a rom-com, but a romantic drama. It looks closely at a relationship that is so full of energy at the start, but gradually starts to fray and collapse when some of the realities of life hit hard. It has so much truth at its heart, that you feel you are being intrusive or voyeuristic as you watch the deeply personal situations unfold. At the centre of the movie’s success, however, is the powerhouse performance from Emmanuelle Bercot. Deservedly winning Best Actress at last year’s Cannes, she carries us through her character’s transition from giggly romantic rebel to depressed confused parent with ease. Cassel is also good as the “Manic Elfin Dream Guy”.
Director Maïwenn (Polisse) has created a riveting drama that will stay with you long after you have left the confines of Coombs.