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Brilliant Belvaux Thrills

Lucas Belvaux follows his last EIFF entry, 2003's Le Trilogie, with a stunning blue-collar thriller that defies expectation and classification. A trio of unemployed men live on the breadline in Liege...

Lucas Belvaux follows his last EIFF entry, 2003's Le Trilogie, with a stunning blue-collar thriller that defies expectation and classification.

A trio of unemployed men live on the breadline in Liege; fifty-somethings Robert (Claude Semal) and the wheelchair-bound Jean-Pierre (Patrick Deschamps) often play cards with the younger Patrick (Eric Caravaca) at a local café. They encounter former convict Marc (Belvaux) and decide that a bank heist will provide the answer to their financial problems.

Writer-director Belvaux has constructed a refrehshing treatment of the 'driven to crime by poverty' narrative. Stylistically this is social realism on a par with Loach, with the brutal industrial wasteland captured in startling widescreen and the characters resoloutely grounded in a near-hopeless reality. Indeed, the interaction of the trio comprises organic exchanges which belie the sharpness of Belvaux’s script.
  
Yet with the introduction of former criminal Marc, the narrative takes an altogether different turn, increasing tension as they inevitably descend to criminality. There is a political message here but there is no didacticism in its delivery. Belvaux resists the temptation to condemn or condone the actions of his characters, allowing their desperation to speak for itself.

This is a thriller like no other to be witnessed this year, an altogether thrilling realisation of Belvaux’s talent.

The Right of the Weakest is showing on 18 and 19 August at Cineworld.

 

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