Grand Central (2013)

Grand Central
Director: Rebecca Zlotowski
Writer: Gaëlle Macé, Rebecca Zlotowski
Cast: Tahar Rahim, Léa Seydoux, Olivier Gourmet, Denis Ménochet, Johan Libéreau
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Gary (Tahar Rahim) has been looking for work and barely has any money at all. So when he ends up working in a nuclear power plant, he feels like he gets a new chance. Especially since he likes his colleagues Gilles (Olivier Gourmet) and Toni (Denis Ménochet) with whom he also practically lives together. But it really is Toni’s girlfriend Karole (Léa Seydoux) who keeps him there.

Grand Central has an interesting setting and a great cast. The plot itself is nothing to write home about, but that’s kind of the point. It does get a little long, but generally it was really good.

grandcentral

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film about what it means to work in a nuclear power plant. I mean, there are things like the Simpsons which wants to be and is over the top, and there are things where there is a reactor melt-down etc. But just the day to day work routine and the general normalcy of it – I couldn’t recall that. And that’s just what Zlotowski shows us: the insanity of that work environment that has become utterly normal.

And that’s why I didn’t mind that the story was nothing grand. It was a story of normal people who do normal things and have normal lives. And the standard of their behavior not only serves to underline the strangeness of the setting, but that strangeness makes their normal behavior sometimes more than reckless.

grandcentral1

As I said, the cast was really good, too. Tahar Rahim doesn’t say much, but he really doesn’t need to. Olivier Gourmet brings so much to Gilles, you can’t help but focus on him whenever he is on screen. Denis Ménochet generally blew me away. I’m not that sold on Léa Seydoux but she certainly wasn’t bad.

The movie is not perfect. There were some issues with the pacing, making it feel longer than it was. The soundtrack oscillated between really cool and a little too much. [And there was the fact that we’re supposed to believe that anyone would want to stop sleeping with Denis Ménochet, who is basically sex on legs. Okay, that might just be just my own bias there.] But it is good and very much worth seeing.

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Summarizing: Not incredible, but really good.

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