Part crime thriller, part family farce, Louis Garrel’s The Innocent shows with panache and pathos the dangerous lengths two men go, and the outlandish lies they tell, for the women they love. Garrel stars as Abel, a museum educator and widower whose mother, Sylvie (Anouk Grinberg), marries Michel (Roschdy Zem), one of her drama pupils in the local penitentiary. Once on parole Michel attempts to start a legitimate life for Sylvie’s sake but soon reverts to his old ways, with the suspicious Abel continually — and ineptly — spying on his step-father until roped into one of the ex-con’s schemes. Complicating matters is Clémence (Noémie Merlant), the brazen coworker who convinces Abel to break out of his emotional and romantic shell by taking part in Michel’s planned heist. Directing from his own screenplay (as co-written by Tanguy Viel and Naïla Guiguet), Garrel explores the comedic results of playacting’s intrusion into real life, as well as real life’s comedic tendency to transform us into what we never thought we could be, but perhaps always were.
Les Films des Tournelles