Sarah Leonor’s The Great Man is a startlingly fresh take on the old tropes of interconnectedness and the mysteries of identity and responsibility. It begins like a contemporary fable, with the voice of a little boy telling the story of Hamilton and Markov, two best friends in the French Foreign Legion who go AWOL in Afghanistan to track an elusive leopard. The film then shifts gears to harsh reality: the two men are back in Paris, faced with PTSD, the need for employment, and the fact that Markov is not Markov at all, but Mourad Mossaev, an undocumented Chechen with an eleven year-old son he barely knows. To allow Mourad to secure a job, Hamilton offers to let him take his own real identity, that of Michaël Hernandez, a Frenchman in good standing. But when tragedy strikes, it is Hamilton who must face transformation and ask himself what it is to be a great man—a legendary leopard hunter or a good father? Deftly handling hot-button subjects such as immigration, integration, and European military involvement in Afghanistan, Leonor proves to be not only a storyteller of the first order, but a valuable observer of the ripple effects of apparently distant events on individual lives.
Emmanuelle Jacob, Sarah Leonor, Sarah Teper
Distrib Films US