Untouchable Review

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Score

This charming French comedy concerns a wealthy paraplegic and his strange choice of carers.

Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano's Untouchable French box-office sensation opens with an unlikely duo joyriding through Paris in a Maserati to Earth Wind and Fire’s 'September'. It's an electric opening which sets the pace for the rest of the film, where the gags are fast and furious.

Untouchable hardly breaks new cinematic ground it that it depicts two men from different backgrounds who strike up an odd friendship. Driss (Omar Sy), a young ex-con from "les banlieues", applies for a job as a carer to Philippe (François Cluzet), a paraplegic millionaire, so that he can get a signature to qualify for unemployment benefits.

But Philippe is bored of being cared for by men in lab coats, so decides to hire this wildcard applicant who stole the Fabergé egg from his desk. This is the start of what is essentially a love story between the pair. The humour is brazen and unapologetic. Driss pours boiling water over Philippe’s paralysed legs unable to believe that he can’t feel anything and repeatedly barks at him to “get up lazy bones”. But Driss gives Phillipe what he craves – honesty, not pity.

Philippe introduces Driss to Opera and modern art, while Driss introduces Philippe to underwear-clad masseuses and marijuana. The film happily makes its way through checklist of comedy clichés, the scene where Driss teaches rich classical music lovers to dance to Earth Wind and Fire at a stuffy party being the biggest offender. Yes, it might be impossible to believe that twenty-year-old ex-cons living in the ghetto would listen to '70s disco, but the obvious flaws in Untouchable are all quashed by the intoxicating chemistry between Cluzet and Sy.

Philippe is paralysed from the neck down so Cluzet could not move his body, but relied solely on his face and voice to express emotion. His performance is remarkable and he makes Philippe into a respectable figure rather than a lost cause. And the other actor in this cross-cultural bromance, Omar Sy, is just as good. He won the Best Male Performance Award at the Cesars for Untouchable, and if that doesn't sound like much, consider that his competition included Jean Dujardin of The Artist.

Anticipation

Made lots of money and earned lots of awards nods in France.

4

Enjoyment

The very definition of a crowd pleaser.

3

In Retrospect

Enjoy it before the English language version comes out.

3
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