Reviewed By Linda Marric
Duval (Cluzet) a lowly office worker and recovering alcoholic is not having too much luck finding a new job after a recent breakdown which cost him his last one. When one day a call comes from a shadowy figure named Clément (Denis Podalydès), Duval is made an offer he will find very hard to refuse. His instructions are to transcribe taped conversations which have been recorded secretly by an unknown organisation. All seems to be going smoothly and without too many questions asked, when one day a tape lands on his hands which contains what appears to be a political murder. Unable to reach Clement or anyone associated with the job at hand, our hero must carry on regardless despite fearing for his own life.
Set amongst an election campaign which favours a corrupt presidential candidate, the film is not only brilliantly cast but is also skilfully written. With more twists and turns that you can shake a stick at, Scribe will ignite the interest of every conspiracy theorist going and will manage to bring to the forefront what many suspect a political campaign looks like from the inside. Taking a leaf out of some of the most outlandish House Of Cards narratives, the film manages to possess an indie sensibility all the while offering one of the most accessible storylines even if it sometimes resorts to too much intrigue at the expense of a more realist narrative arc.
Whilst parallels can be drawn between Scribe and some of the best Grisham inspired conspiracy thrillers of the 1990s, the film is at its best when it isn’t trying too hard to emulate its predecessors. Duval is offered to us as someone who has never had any interest in politics, making him the prime candidate for the job. Despite the, at times, facile storyline, Scribe manages to keep its audience guessing till the very end without ever letting on about which way the story is going.
On the whole, Scribe’s accessibility could result in it becoming one of the summer hits which no one saw coming. Cluzet is as magnificent as ever as the everyman caught up in extraordinary circumstances, as is Podalydès whose chilling delivery will stay wth you long after the film ends. A special mention must also go to the brilliant Sami Bouajila (Days of Glory, 2006) as police chief Labarthe who puts in one of the most believable performances of the film. A genuinely thrilling piece of filmmaking.
Writers:Yann Gozlan (screenplay), Thomas Kruithof (screenplay)
Stars:François Cluzet, Denis Podalydès, Sami Bouajila
SCRIBE is in cinemas and on demand from 21st July