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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Music That Makes Me Dance
Tom (Romain Duris) works as a sort of real-estate thug. He and his partners trash buildings in low-income areas, buying them low and selling them high for a quick profit. It's a grotesque scam that involves letting sewer rats loose in target buildings so as to scare out squatters and sometimes paying tenants.
Tom's work is morally corrupt and physically...
Published on 19 Mar 2006 by MICHAEL ACUNA

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Generally a good watch
The premise verges on the unlikely,
In a film where there are no sympathetic characters, excepting the piano teacher, and the lead particularly offensive, you would not think it could be a good watch. If taken as a social commentary the film would be depressing. It however hangs together well because of the style and attitude of the actors and the direction.
7...
Published 11 months ago by MV


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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Music That Makes Me Dance, 19 Mar 2006
By 
MICHAEL ACUNA (Southern California United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Tom (Romain Duris) works as a sort of real-estate thug. He and his partners trash buildings in low-income areas, buying them low and selling them high for a quick profit. It's a grotesque scam that involves letting sewer rats loose in target buildings so as to scare out squatters and sometimes paying tenants.
Tom's work is morally corrupt and physically debilitating and Tom manifests this corruptness in the very core of his being: he's depressed, violent, short-tempered and vehemently without empathy and humanity. He is only seemingly nice when a good-looking woman is around and that is only so he can bed her.
Then one day he spots his dead mother's music manager who promises him an audition which draws Tom back into his musical training: something he deserted many years before. Tom throws himself into classical music at first as a challenge to recapture his talent. But what he doesn't initially realize is that music will ultimately prove to be his salvation...turning him from the darkness to the light.
Music has always been something that Tom has associated with what little good he has experienced in his life. To him, music recalls his loving mother. To him, music has always meant love. And he grasps at a life in music like a drowning man grasps at a life preserver. He is as neurotic at reclaiming his musical talent as he is at stealing, drinking, drugging and cheating. He has a goal for the first time in many, many years.
Romain Duris ("The Spanish Apartment," "Le Divorce") heretofore has always been the good guy: young and sweet yet in both of these roles he was always a little devious, a little devilish. Here, Duris is all about Cuban-heeled shoes, black leather jacket, buffed out body, dyed black hair and unflinching scowl. More importantly, Tom has a big black hole where his soul should be and he uses his love of music to fill it...little by little as a compulsive eater uses food to fill an emptiness that is never quite satiated. Duris gives a profound, thoughtful and passionate performance.
Director Jacques Audiard (the sublime "Read My Lips") has made a film redolent of darkness and misanthropy on one hand and hope and light on the other. And it is this ambiguity that makes this film snap with world-weary wit and non-sanctimonious truth.
Redemption through the intricacies and beauty found within and between the notes of a Bach Toccata? Oh, yes.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and enigmatic, 4 Oct 2009
One of the reviewers said they found the idea of redemption through music unconvincing. But I think this misses the point, the film doesn't answer the question it asks it. Because at the end we don't really know if the character has found any sort of redemption. As the film closes, the main character has just half killed someone in revenge? Is that redemption or does it mean his basic violent character is unchanged. The same reviewer says he found the idea of becoming a concert pianist unconvincing. But the main character doesn't become a concert pianist. He is with the Chinese girl who is the concert pianist. The leaves us watching the bloodstained main character watching her on stage. So in typically French style we are left with questions and more questions. This is not a criticism, it is just what the film does.

So after all that what did I think? Simply brilliant, exquisite phoitgraphy, acting, humour and a fascinating plot, and as most agree a superb central role. So 5 stars it is.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-see, 16 Oct 2008
This review is from: The Beat That My Heart Skipped [DVD] (DVD)
A property developer on the fringes of legality rediscovers his talent for the piano and seeks a career in music rather than as petty gangster. Sounds unconvincing on paper but onscreen this is a story that is engaging throughout. There are occasional bursts of violence but this story is character driven. The main character initially appears unsympathetic but the viewer is soon willing him on in his determined pursuit of a career which those around him, including his father, tell him is a distraction from the realities of life. Right to the very end of the film, he is pulled between the artistic and the violent.

I cannot recommend this highly enough.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic and original French ganagster film, 5 Mar 2011
By 
Ian Thumwood "ian17577" (Winchester) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Beat That My Heart Skipped [DVD] (DVD)
On the face of it, the subject of this film seems too improbable and such a bizarre juxtaposition of themes that you can understand why it would be easily over-looked. However, this is quality piece of drama that is easily of the same calibre of other gangster films such as "Goodfellas" although there are echoes of the excellent "Long Good Friday" in the way that the criminals eventually bite of more than they can chew.

As someone who has been exploring French cinema over the last few years, I quickly came to the conclusion that Romain Duris is probably the most compelling actor of his generation and that the comparisons with Robert De Niron are not without foundation. Whilst films like "Paris" and "Moliere" are exceptional, lightweight comedies, "The beat that my heart skipped" is essentially a film about small time criminals with Duris playing a character who has become tired of following in his father's footsteps, wishing instead to pick up his talent for playing the piano. Unfortunately, the father has a new girlfriend and is looking towards his son, played by Duris, to step up to the mantle to regain a grip on the protection rackets he has been running. Essentially, the film then concentrates upon Duris' increased lack of enthusiasm for evicting illegal immigrants who can no longer afford to pay their rent and increasingly takes solice in resurrecting his piano studies with a a gentle and sympathetic teacher with a view to getting a place in a conservatory. The film chronicles the increasing conflict in interest but rapidly moves up a few gears when we learn that his father's criminal "empire" is strictly small fry when compared to the Russian gangsters who have moved on to his patch. Rather than descending into a blood bath, the film takes on the air of a tragedy as the father failing to realise the gravity of the situation with the son struggling to balance his musical talent with his criminal past which refuses to allow his to escape.

Unlikely as the plot my seem, this is a exceptional film which is totally compelling right up to the conclusion. For me, this is easily one of the top five French films I have seen working both as a piece of drama and as a thriller. However, Duris' performance as the protagonist ranks is probably amongst the best screen performances you will have seen in recent years in any language. One of the essential pieces of cinema of the first decade of the 2000's.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bon ecoute moi glou glou, 16 Jan 2006
By A Customer
I picked up the region 1 DVD a few days ago, I was surprised it was on DVD as it is was fairly recently released. I had high hopes for this and it didn't disappoint. Everything about this is masterly.
The hand held camera work is brilliant particularly during the removal of squatters on the estates, especially the night sequences and the claustraphobia it creates makes it intense and unnerving.
The editing is wonderful, it keeps the pace going, the estate agents always seem to be on the move day and night and it creates that non stop energy about it but also allows the quieter more pensive moments to breath and reveal so much more.
The acting particulary Duris as Tom is brilliant and as often quoted is very reminiscent of early De Niro or Keitel. His father is a horrid old man who is out of his depth and I thought that perhaps they could have fleshed out why he had such affection for the old man, I couldn't see why Tom had such love for him after he screwed him up so much. Of particular note is the Asian piano teacher who does an incredible job given the repetative nature and restriction on her early scenes. She has great presence and uses her body brilliantly.
The music is probably the best use of music I have seen in a film for a while. There is a wide scope of genre's here as well suggesting Tom's appreciation for all types of music and the use of it in particular scenes is so well selected that you hardly notice the transition from Bach to Bloc Party it is so seemless and on point.
Audiard does a great job here in allowing things to feel as if they have developed naturally and with the roving camera it often felt like I was watching a documentary.
I would definitely recommend this and as such I will be checking out Audiard's previous films Self Made Hero and Read My Lips.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful film, 15 May 2007
By 
L. Dablin "The Bibliophile" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is quite simply a beautiful film. It explores the depths of human emotions and the pain of conflicting loyalties - all the while with a beautiful musical score in the background. Really must be watched - preferably a few times - in order to gain the best experience from it. An easy 5 stars.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerising, 2 April 2006
By A Customer
I was intrigued to see this film after reading a lot of great reviews and it did live up to the hype. The story concerns a young man caught between a life of crime and violence and his rekindling of a childhood talent ( and love ) for playing the piano. You'll find yourself hooked, desperate to find out what will happen to him, will he manage to pursue his dreams or is he doomed to always be sucked back into the underworld?
Romain Dupris' performance is outstanding, the way he conveys a nervous, edgy energy is hypnotic and he looks pretty cool aswell! He's entirely believable with a kind of Liam Gallagher swagger (Don't let that put you off!) If this film hadn't been in a foreign language then an oscar would have been his.
Remember this is no Disney film, without giving away too much there's some nasty violence towards the end. This is a film that will definately leave a lasting impression.
P.S. What a genius title!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Piece of Work, 29 Jun 2009
By 
Mr. L. C. Rothery "Lee from Southowram" (Halifax, West Yorkshire, Albion) - See all my reviews
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This film is fantastic. I think movies in french language seem to offer so much in way of pretension but never in content and delivery but this film blew me away. Romain Duris excels yet again and you should also see him in Paris and Dans Psris, both decent films. This time he plays a petty criminal working in real estate and for a while it seems is life is leading in only one direction. However, through a chance meeting he re-iterates his desire to play the piano. For me, this is where the film gets interesting. Its all about the struggle between his reality and his artistic ambition. I love the way that his biggest fear isn't the darkened characters he meets during the day or taking care of his Dad (he does this without really thinking of the consequences) but his fear and annoyance of trying to learn this piece by Bach. I also think some of the best scenes are when he his with his piano teacher, I especially like the blurred language barriers and only through the Piano can they both fully express themselves. Brilliant! 83%.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping film exploring a complex character and his love of music, 3 Jun 2009
By 
This review is from: The Beat That My Heart Skipped [DVD] (DVD)
In this fascinating and absorbing film, we follow the lead character's dodgy dealings in Paris, as he (Tom) works with his associates to swindle his way to riches from seedy property transactions.

In a similar manner to Harvey Keitel's character in Mean Streets, we soon start to see that Tom does in fact have a moral compass underneath, and is a complicated individual with cravings not just for power, but also for music, and women. Of the latter, we see the full spectrum of his traits and emotions, from womanising, to insecurity.

It is gripping to follow Tom as he is torn between his gangster-style life and his rediscovery of music. Scenes where his petite Chinese tutor is first scared of his outbursts of impatience, and then finally snaps and tears into him, add to the charm and symmetry of the film and its characters.

Tom seems to make the right decisions in the end and has a new, pleasing life, when he suddenly comes close to losing it all in a moment of madness, when his past turns up to haunt him one last time. I will leave the reader to discover whether Tom can control his urges, or whether we see a sad ending.

A marvellous film, and just to add, Amazon's review mentioned that the film might have risked being a "hokum tale on the power of art" - but as films like this prove, in life, art is absolutely very real and genuine to those who feel its importance and beauty.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tour De Force Central Performance, 24 Nov 2011
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Jacques Audiard has been directing (very much off and on) since 1994 and only completed 5 films to date (2011) - albeit he has written a number of other screenplays over this period. With The Beat That My Heart Skipped and his 2009 feature A Prophet, he has made two of the most outstanding French films (along with Michael Haneke's Hidden) that I've seen in the 2000s.

The Beat That My Heart Skipped is an acting tour de force by Romain Duris in his role as the film's central protagonist, small-time gangster and budding pianist, Thomas Seyr. Duris reminds me very much of a young Robert De Niro (Meanstreets and Taxi Driver era) in his edgy and intense performance as the Parisian loner torn between his criminal existence and his (albeit somewhat fanciful) ambition to do something creative with his life by becoming a professional pianist. The other main thread of the film's narrative is Thomas' fractious, but nevertheless affectionate, relationship with his father Richard, brilliantly played by Niels Arestrup (who was also superb in A Prophet). Thomas pursues his two-track lifestyle, taking piano lessons which provide, by turns, both intense and tender moments, but eventually is drawn back into things criminal as his father becomes indebted to a Russian gangster, with violent and tragic consequences.

Duris is virtually a constant on-screen presence, to mesmerising effect, delivering a very impressive performance. I have seen Duris in two subsequent films to this, Dans Paris (mediocre film) and The Big Picture (in which he delivers a very good performance in a moderately good film). This film is his must-see performance.

For completeness, I should also say that this film is actually a remake of James Toback's 1978 version starring Harvey Keitel (which I must admit to not having seen).
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The Beat That My Heart Skipped  [DVD]
The Beat That My Heart Skipped [DVD] by Jacques Audiard (DVD - 2006)
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