The Great Game | Chicago Reader

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100 minutes · 2015

With this eloquent debut feature (2015), writer-director Nicolas Pariser hopes to expose the seedy underbelly of French politics, but aside from a handful of rapier exchanges, his script never really specifies the conspiracy being fomented or the extent of the corruption. That's unfortunate, because the principal actors—André Dussollier (Amélie) as an aging political puppet master; Melvil Poupard as a faded, fortyish author coerced into ghostwriting the politician's provocative book; and Clémence Poésy as an enigmatic woman immersed in an extreme-left group—are excellent. "The public arena doesn't exist," the older man informs the younger. "I create it." This assertion might have been the jumping-off point for a sinuous political thriller, yet the plot twists are few and the climax is feeble. In French with subtitles.

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