Grand Central | Chicago Reader
Grand Central

Grand Central

Grand Central

This unpredictable 2013 feature by French writer-director Rebecca Zlotowski (Belle Épine) starts as a piece of gritty social realism and gradually evolves into an old-fashioned romantic melodrama, but Zlotowski maintains such strong control over the material that the change doesn't feel jarring. A 30-ish drifter (Tahar Rahim) hires on at a nuclear reactor and falls in with a close-knit group of fellow employees, only to jeopardize his situation when he enters into an affair with the young fiancee (Léa Seydoux) of one of his coworkers. Between his fear of getting found out and the risks of working at the reactor (which Zlotowski presents in exciting, documentary-style detail), the protagonist's life becomes one of constant danger. His moments of intimacy with the woman come to feel like mere breaks from the tension, and Zlotowski's jittery visual style cleverly mirrors his anxiety. In French with subtitles.


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