Eric Cantona broadens his acting range by tackling his most substantial screen role yet.
Canadian actress Karine Vanasse stars alongside erstwhile footballing maverick and all round enigmatic polymath, Eric Cantona, in French director Frédéric Schoendoerffer's crime thriller Switch.
Co-written by Schoendoerffer and author/screenwriter Jean-Christophe Grange (The Crimson Rivers, Empire of the Wolves), Switch displays shades of Hitchcock and De Palma in terms of narrative themes as an apartment swapping scheme acts as the catalyst for a fast-paced but derivative tale of virtual and physical identity theft, family ties, murder and madness.
Self-employed fashion illustrator, Sophie Malaterre (Vanasse), is confronted with a nightmare scenario after agreeing online to a summer swap of her Montreal residence for the Paris apartment of Benedicte Serteaux (Karina Testa). After one day of blissful vacationing in the French capital, Sophie's world is thrown into disarray when she is arrested by the police – mistaking her for Serteaux – and charged with murdering Serteaux's on-off boyfriend whose headless corpse is found in the apartment.
Sophie's desperate attempts to prove her identity, innocence and sanity force her into ever more drastic action after she escapes from custody. Cantona has the chance to broaden his acting range by tackling his most substantial screen role yet, that of the tough but under pressure Parisian cop, Damien Forgeat.
Assigned to the apparently open and shut case, Forgeat is slowly awakened to the veracity of Sophie's claims that the real Serteaux is on the loose in Montreal. As further crimes are uncovered a cat and mouse game plays out both in Paris and Montreal as Sophie herself turns detective as the unstable Serteaux's motivations for framing her are uncovered.
Unfolding as a kinetic mix of Policier, grisly modern noir and psycho-thriller, Switch is at its strongest in its action sequences. Otherwise, it’s a dramatically flawed and largely unmemorable movie. While Vanasse throws herself into her physically demanding role with gusto, and Cantona, to his credit, makes for a suitably moody, no-nonsense cop, Switch is hamstrung by a workaday script, generic characters and an overly familiar narrative.
Schoendoerffer and Grange sacrifice anything more than superficial characterisation in favour of exposition heavy dialogue and an increasingly convoluted narrative trajectory. The fluid camerawork and choppy editing propel the linear narrative and the Hermannesque score work well in establishing tension and suspense, but ultimately Schoendoerffer and Grange's material has the worn feel of an elongated episode of any number of mainstream TV detective series.
The novelty factor of Cantona playing a cop and the intriguing premise promised some fun.
Sporadically enjoyable, mainly average.
Destined to be forgotten.