The Intouchables [Blu-Ray] Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano

The Intouchables [Blu-Ray] Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano
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Just to be clear, commercially accessible and widely acclaimed comic French drama The Intouchables is essentially Scent of a Woman with a quadriplegic instead of a blind man in the position of moral cipher. Chris O'Donnell has been replaced with an irreverent, perpetually horny "youth" of questionable ethical stature and Al Pacino isn't literally discussing the "scent" of a woman ("Hoo-ah!"), but the themes, structure and tone of the Award-winning American film are all present. What's distinct, beyond the obvious additional complexities involved in caring for a quadriplegic or, adversely, his emotional state, is that The Intouchables implies something discomforting within its unlikely premise of quadriplegic millionaire Philippe (Francois Cluzet) hiring Driss (Omar Sy), an openly rude ex-con applying for the job only to get a signature on a Social Security form to collect unemployment insurance. While the story follows the usual tropes of fish-out-of-water, Odd Couple wackiness — Driss flirts with Philippe's secretary and animatedly reacts to news that he has to bathe and empty the colon of his employer — Philippe's disposition isn't treated with complete levity. Suffering night time panic attacks and doing a reasonable job of masking his intense depression, it becomes clear as the film progresses that our brave-faced millionaire likely hired an erratic and unpredictable employee as a reckless act of self-destruction. Though the tone suggests their relationship is founded with mutual verve and respect, just as their eventual car racing through the streets appears to be little more than a youthful whim, showing that a physical disability can't repress the human spirit, it's more likely that Philippe, as performed by Cluzet, has reached a point where mortality is no longer terrifying. In a positive light, Philippe's persistent faith in Driss suggests a new lease on life, having the body of a physically fit young black man to live through and experience the world vicariously. But, more practically, his decision to hire someone that was actively hostile about the prospect of employment suggests a psychological state similar to that of an alcoholic or someone regularly indulging in unprotected sex. Still, removing this unflattering bit of reality and ignoring the overall saccharine nature of what is ostensibly a formulaic and often cheesy film, The Intouchables is extremely accessible and entertaining for what it is. There are laughs to be had and both actors are likable in their respective roles. Only deleted scenes are included with the Blu-Ray, which is common for North American releases of European movies. (Alliance)