Time Out

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Movie Review by Alice Castle

Starring: Aurelien Recoing, Karin Viard, Serge Livrozet, Jean-Pierre Mangeot, Monique Mangeot

Director: Laurent Cantet

For men I’ve always thought self-esteem is wrapped up in work. What is the first question men ask each other ‘What job do you do?’ – and from that moment status and pecking order are established. TIME OUT aka L’EMPLOI DU TEMPS tells the story of what can go wrong when the world of work crashes down around your ears.

Vincent (Aurelien Recoing) is a likable middle-aged salary man travelling to and from clients on the autoroutes in France. His sanctuary is his car, where he can quietly smoke, listen to music and pass the time away. When he loses his job he decides to delay telling his family and instead pretends he has landed a swanky new position at the UN in Geneva dealing with developing nations in Africa. In the meantime his proud but pushy father (Jean-Pierre Mangeot) lends him the money to rent a flat in Switzerland and within weeks Vincent finds himself further and further into his embellished lie, determined to keep it from his wife (Karin Viard) and family. You get the idea that Vincent has spent his whole life living out the wishes of his parents – and as the film tightens in tension you can almost see his bald patch extend further and further towards his ears.

Worried that he’s going to start running out of money, Vincent creates a further lie persuading former school friends to buy into a ‘make money fast’ scheme. Choosing anonymous Novotels for his business meetings he is overheard by a shady hotel manager (Serge Livrozet) who gets him into an even deeper mess.

Slow moving but very nicely crafted – TIME OUT aka L’EMPLOI DU TEMPS is well worth a viewing. Be warned you safe middle class salaried types! Don’t push your children into things they don’t want to do.

4 out of 6 stars