The characters inhabiting the three very French worlds of Catherine Corsini’s emotional thriller bear two common burdens: the weighty residual guilt of hit-and-run homicides, and strange compulsions to ruin their own lives for no apparent reason. When designated tragic hero Al (Raphaël Personnaz) accidentally runs over a man on the night of his bachelor party, it is certainly no small psychological matter for anyone involved. However, the upwardly mobile Al commits more than one fatal faux pas—fleeing the scene, denying it all at the behest of jerkwad friends, engaging in an adulterous affair with the crime’s sole witness—that seem perfectly avoidable: If you’re not interested in courting ethical torment, then don’t invite it upstairs and pour it a glass of wine. The victim’s wife, Vera (Arta Dobroshi), a Moldovan immigrant in the country illegally, is the most compelling apex of this teary trifecta, largely because she seems to be the only one who confronts events in a way that’s not entirely self-evasive. First she blames Al for her husband’s death, then the greater bureaucracy of France, and finally, in a wrenching scene in which she buys the suit her husband will be buried in, her absent expression signifies that she blames herself. Although misplaced, that one sober acceptance of responsibility is refreshing in what feels like an overdrawn soap opera about everyone’s simultaneous fear of and longing for consequences.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 19, 2013