Tahar Rahim

Grand Central trailer

Love in the time of great and terrible radiation isn’t a novel concept. Look at Marie and Pierre Curie. Or Bryan Cranston and his coworker wife in Godzilla. Now, the nuclear power from within a French plant is going to spark the beautiful power of desire within Léa Seydoux and Tahar Rahim. It’s science. The trailer for Grand Central, a film directed by Rebecca Zlotowski (Belle Épine) and written by Zlotowski and Gaëlle Macé (Aliyah), is a study of passion over OSHA safety standards, which are there for a reason, buddy. Gary (Rahim, A Prophet) is a worker who takes up a job at a nuclear power plant in the French countryside because if Homer Simpson can do it, really then everyone else can, too. He’s quickly introduced to the inherent dangers of his new line of work through the trailer’s whirlwind montage of safety measures and visions of his new friends suiting up and stripping down in front of stern faces; without proper caution, the consequences are dire and deadly, with the threat of radiation contaminating their every pore and poisoning their bodies.

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grand central 01

Lea Seydoux and Tahar Rahim are unquestionably two darlings of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, taking front and center in two films a piece (the respective others being Blue Is the Warmest Colour and The Past), coming together for Rebecca Zlotowski‘s sophomore feature, the bizarre and unsettling romantic thriller-drama Grand Central. Gary (Rahim) begins the story unemployed and desperate for work, when he begrudgingly takes an assignment as a decontaminator of nuclear reactors. The real drama, at least initially, comes after hours when Gary meets a gorgeous, provocative co-worker named Karole (Seydoux), and an uneasy romance begins to blossom. As the tensions rise in both the nuclear reactor and the relationship, it heads towards a dangerous payoff in both the literal and figurative senses.

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“Bury them in Morocco.” Our Children opens with a scene of despair, a mother (Émilie Dequenne) on a hospital bed deliriously asking her nurse if the bodies of her own daughters can be laid to rest on the far side of the Mediterranean Sea. It is a moment of primal fear and desperation. It is not, however, a moment of clarity. There is no context to be had; only the image a woman on a bed and the following shot of Tahar Rahim and Niels Arestrup running down a hallway. It is director Joachim Lafosse’s opening salvo in a quietly violent film that will both assault and deeply move its audience. And then, just as quickly, there is tranquility. The film rewinds back to a simpler time in the lives of its characters, when Mounir (Rahim) and Murielle (Dequenne) had just begun their romance. She is a schoolteacher. He is a restless young Moroccan immigrant who will soon agree to a job in his adoptive father’s medical practice. Dr. André Pinget (Arestrup) not only looks out for his protégé, but lives with him. He has effectively adopted Mounir’s entire family, and is even married to Mounir’s sister so that she can legally live in Belgium. Pinget’s influence over Mounir is powerful, even a little unsettling.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr spent the night in jail after trying to sneak in and see Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D. The cops didn’t believe him that he was trying to watch the latest remake of Thunderball. Sadly, they just saw a pervy looking fat guy squealing and crying with a group of thirteen year old girls. Fortunately, he had a chance to catch the other movies of the week, including Gnomeo and Juliet, Just Go With It and The Eagle. He also gives a little bit of love (what’s left of it anyway after spending the night in lock-up) to the Oscar-Nominated Shorts.

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‘A Prophet,’ a nominee for best foreign language film, is a clichéd but effective prison drama that successfully gets you in its protagonist’s head.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B


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