Friday, July 19, 2013

Time off?

People grow up, finish their studies and then eventually start working and go to work every day. They wake up, get dressed and stay away from their family while at work. Some of them have to go through the difficulty of losing a job and in that case most of them start looking for a new one. A middle-aged, family man loses his job and is unable to break the news to his wife and family. Vincent (Aurelien Recoing) chooses to lead a life of an employed person even after losing his job in Laurent Cantet's L' Emploi du temps (Time Out, 2001). 

Vincent loves driving, maybe even more than interacting with human beings. After getting laid off, he makes up a new job, an idea that he gets by reading brochures in an office in Geneva. This whole invention of him getting a new job at the UN office also enables him to spend time driving, an escape he clearly enjoys and at the same time it also hides his unemployment from his family. With time, it is noticed that Vincent likes being without a job and there is an obvious liking to the freedom that he has gained. It shows how uncomfortable he was working and interacting with people at his work place. He seems to enjoy his time on the road and being away from everyone. However, things get difficult as he starts running out of funds and because of that he is forced to lie and use unfair means to collect money. His wife Muriel (Karin Viard) is shown as a loving wife who is always supporting him but as times passes she gets suspicious and senses that something isn't right. His freedom to explore different avenues of life by being unemployed comes with a cost of him being drawn into doing things he shouldn't do. He gets into conning his family and close friends of their money which also extends to people he doesn't know. With time he realizes that he is in trouble and can't go on fooling people by taking their savings under the pretext of a profitable investment, and his scam is eventually noticed by a stranger. 


This movie unfolds Vincent's character at a very slow pace but the process is admirable. We witness how he hides from reality, pretends to live a life that doesn't exist, lies and manipulates and is forced into doing things so that he doesn't get exposed. Recoing's performance is strong and certainly a rewarding experience to watch. He made me like his gentle and laid-back presence and slowly shocked me with the audacity of his lies and deception. As the drama unfolded I was trapped between supporting his decision to carry on the way he was and the fact that he should confess to his family as he might end up destroying everything. This is a story of a man who is caught up between running away from the routine life he doesn't like and sticking with the people who love him the most. His desire to impress the elders and to win the love of young ones draws him into doing unreasonable things which lead to the truth being out in the open eventually. This is a simple and a telling story which made me like it more with every time I thought about it, and I haven't stopped.

                            

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