Director – The Dardenne Brothers (The Son)
Cast – Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione, Catherine Salee
Plot – Solar panel workshop employee and mother Sandra (Cotillard) has recently been laid off from work. When she discovers that her boss is willing to allow her co-workers to vote to keep her on or earn a monetary bonus, Sandra has a weekend to convince these people she deserves to be kept on.
“Every time I feel like a beggar, a thief coming to take their money”
Review by Eddie on 30/07/2015
Belgian natives the Dardenne Brothers have long been renowned for sturdy character studies and while their new film Two Days, One Night unravels at a pace not dissimilar to watching a snail race a sloth there is little questioning the power the film holds when everything comes together in a realistic and uncomplicated manner.
The Dardenne’s last film The Kid with a Bike was a small scale yet affecting tale of childhood and class segregation and Two Days feels like a spiritual follow up to that film in many ways. Anchored by a rightfully Oscar nominated turn by the incredibly consistent Marion Cotillard, in another one of her unglamorous and emotionally wrought turns, Two Days finds a groove that allows it to create tension and intrigue by nothing more than a look or a glance or in moments of somewhat sparse dialogue.
It’s an impressive feat to make a 90 minute feature out of such a slight human interest drama and the character of Sandra isn’t always wholly likeable (her depressive nature is somewhat frustrating) but with Cotillard commanding the screen and a wealth of interesting and relatable human figures Two Days remains tense the whole way through even though it’s central story sometimes threatens to become too melodramatic for its own good.
An issue that to me is almost too hard to ignore in this particular story is the fact that we are made to believe Sandra’s co-workers are so desperate for $1000 Euro’s (equivalent to $1300 Australian) that they would rather see her sacked from a full time job. I’m no master of foreign affairs or economical climates but is life so tough in Belgium that people would be desperate to hold onto this quite small in the scale of things money bonus? With this in mind I found my overall investment and enjoyment in seeing this drama unfold diminished as I couldn’t but help thinking there needed to be a little bit more on the line in regards to fellow humans inflicting pain on someone that has already had their fair share of various torments.
A fine portrayal of human drama and a film which once more features a must see turn from Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night has its fair share of tension, intrigue and emotion and a fantastic conclusion, yet there is an undeniable weakness to its main plot device and it hampers it’s overall impact and believability when everything else around it feels so real and on point. For lovers of slow paced and sombre human dramas of the foreign film ilk however, this will likely be a new favourite.
3 and a half rock station sing-alongs out of 5