Friday, October 25, 2013

Movie with Abe: Capital

Directed by Costa-Gavras
Released October 25, 2013

Movies about banks and the possibility for corruption are not in rare supply these days. Many are documentaries exposing the wrongs committed by those who make an unequal share of profits as compared with their constituents, while others are scripted stories about climbing the ladder of power and the dangerously appealing nature of being on top. In this French film based on the 2006 novel “Le Capital” by Stéphane Osmont, one man finds himself catapulted to prominence and snatches it up eagerly and aggressively, only later stopping to ponder the consequences and figure out the best way to come out ahead in a cutthroat world.

Gad Elmaleh, a popular actor in France who might be most recognizable to American audiences for his small but entertaining role as the detective in “Midnight in Paris,” stars as Marc, a bank executive who has the ear and trust of the CEO, and who is put into the position as a placeholder when the CEO’s health suddenly deteriorates. No one means to take Marc seriously, but he bluntly demands a high salary and usage of executive privileges, affirming himself as more than just the removable puppet his peers want him to be. Marc purposely gets himself in over his head, making side deals with his American partners and obsessing over an alluring model despite being happily married to a very loyal wife.

Elmaleh is an energetic, appealing actor, and his performance is what ties “Capital” together. Marc dives into his new role with enthusiasm, unconcerned with what problems it may bring for him later, singularly focused on making his mark and making money. Among the cast, Gabriel Byrne, a non-Frenchman who unsurprisingly speaks mostly in English, is the only internationally familiar face, and this is hardly the best performance he’s delivered. The premise of “Capital” is a simple one, and its twists and turns are far from innovative, though they’re not meant to be. This is not a grand story about the financial crisis and how easy it is to bring about such a thing, but rather a lively tale of one man’s quest for glory. Seeing Oscar-winner filmmaker Costa-Gavras’ name in the credits might indicate more than that, but this is an ordinary film with a solid lead performance that is far from groundbreaking, but satisfying enough for what it is.


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