Cash (a.k.a. Ca$h), 2008.
Directed by Éric Besnard.
Starring Jean Dujardin, Jean Reno and Valeria Golino.
A master thief attempts to pull off the biggest robbery in history.
The current awards season (2011/12) has been most kind for Jean Durjardin, following his star making performance in The Artist. It’s a wonderful film and a dazzling lead performance. As such, this little known (on these shores anyway) French film from 2008 finally procures itself a DVD release here. Undoubtedly a move to cash in on the critical success of The Artist, this film is an interesting look at the talented star before the big time beckoned.
Durjardin stars as the titular character Cash. He’s a conman and master thief, whose brother was killed on a previous gig. Cash continues scamming where he can. The film is a caper, with twist upon turn. Who’s playing who? Who has the upper hand? It’s all about sleight of hand, misconception, deception and Cash is a master. As the plot motors on, he pits his wits with or against fellow master thief Maxi (Jean Reno) and morally obtuse cop, Julia (Valeria Golino). The film steams through quickly, with sometimes one too many twists and turns to keep up with, but the conclusion is satisfying and the journey entertaining enough.
The cast are very good. If you’ve seen a fair amount of French cinema, you’ll recognise many of the faces. Dujardin leads well. The effortless charisma he displayed in The Artist is clear to see here. It might not be a role with as much depth here, but never the less, he delivers. Jean Reno is reliable as ever. Golino is good, whilst Ciaran Hinds manages to steal his scenes and make his extended cameo memorable.
Technically the film looks good, polished and stylish. The direction from Éric Besnard is vibrant and the editing though sometimes a little too intrusive, adds to the caper element of this. The film feels like a mish-mash of modern film and 60s cinematic style. Bresnard’s script is decent enough, though the characterisation is limited in some cases, but probably intentionally as certainly in Reno and Golino’s cases, their characters don’t want to give too much away. Dujardin is allowed to offer us more insight into his characters core, and as lead, it’s what matters. Occasionally the film borders on being too elaborate and a bit far- fetched, but again, it’s not a particularly serious film and it’s never too bothersome. Come the end it sticks together well enough, and certainly manages to keep one step ahead of the audience.
In all this won’t go down as a classic, but it’s a good slice of entertainment. There’s plenty of star power on show and fans, or indeed new found fans, of Dujardin, will find enough here to keep them entertained.