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Scores to Settle: Two Films about Revenge

28 July 2009

Two films I recently saw on cable dealt with revenge (that dish, as the saying goes, best served cold). One film did serve it cold: The Page Turner (La Tourneuse de pages); the other, at a boil: Dead Man’s Shoes.

The Page Turner (2006), directed by Denis Dercout, stars Déborah François as

Mélanie, the small town butcher’s daughter whose ambitions as a pianist were dashed during a childhood exam when one juror, a famous concert pianist [Catherine Frot], distracted her by signing an autograph. A decade on, this shy girl is somehow hired as governess to the woman’s son, and soon she’s assisting as page turner as Frot prepares for a comeback concert. Is Mélanie plotting revenge? Nursing a crush? Or hoping to bask in reflected glory? This cool, elegant and often witty film remains admirably ambiguous until the final scenes, and even then wisely forgoes tying up too many loose ends. (Time Out Film Guide)

The film plays with some our plot expectations, learned from other suspense dramas.

Look for Déborah François in her first film, L’Enfant, a film we hope to show this fall as part of our OFG offerings.

pageturnerDéborah François in The Page Turner

Dead Man’s Shoes (2004) is from British director Shane Meadows, who wrote it with the film’s lead actor, Paddy Considine.

Something is rotten in a Midland village, though from initial appearances it runs no deeper than the petty drug-dealing, porn and Pot Noodles that charcterise the lives of local goons Herbie, Soz, Tuff and Sonny. Considine busts their chops, steals their stash and daubs taunts on their walls before they have time to figure out who he could be; even when they do, they don’t realise quite how scared they should be. (Time Out Film Guide)

dead_mans_shoesPaddy Considine (with Toby Kebbell) in Dead Man’s Shoes

This was my first exposure to Shane Meadows; his best known work in this country is probably This is England (2006). Paddy Considine was terrific, as expected.

Sidebar: If they cast a biopic of the band X, I’d pick Considine (l) to play John Doe (r). Seeing as Doe has plenty of acting gigs on his own CV, maybe the two should be cast as brothers sometime….

paddyconsidinejohndoe

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