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4.2 out of 5 stars25
4.2 out of 5 stars
Format: Blu-ray|Change
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Paul Exben is a young Parisian man in his mid Thirties who seems to have it all - a beautiful writer wife - two lovely young children who adore him - a high-powered Solicitor's job that brings him prestige - a lavish inner city apartment - private rooms full of computers and expensive printers so he can indulge in photography (his true passion). He also has Catherine Deneuve as his Boss who wants to make him even richer by handing over the reins of her lucrative law business to him for free (because of ill health).

But his wife Sarah seems to be distant of late - and one night she lies about where she acquired an unusual bottle of wine. Genuinely hurt - suspicions stroked and tempers frayed - Paul then has an accident in the apartment of another photographer who unwisely gloats on the subject of infidelity. And from here on in Paul Exben's whole world is thrown into disarray. Exben then proceeds to go through a series of almost bizarre life changes that take him half way across Europe to a point where a local drunk suspects something (dialogue above) and beyond into the open sea... To say more is to give away too much.

I liked "The Big Picture" a lot. For starters it's not the usual French navel-gazing pap. It's tense, dark and surprising - and it's also that best of things - a story-film that takes its sweet time to unfold (nearly two hours). The clever 'big canvas' script bustles along in a sort of trapped-in-a-Hitchcock-film kind-of-a-way - and an intense performance by handsome lead actor Romain Duris keeps you hooked as the twists and turns multiply even to the last few shots.

The 2:34.1 Aspect Ratio BLU RAY image is good at best, but never anymore than that -and there’s English and Spanish Subtitles with a DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio.

An unusual identity-switch film (and hugely enjoyable for it) -dip your croissant into this one…
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on 18 January 2012
Another first class, tightly plotted, well cast and superbly directed French art house thriller that lures you in and grips throughout.
If Hitch were alive today, I swear he'd be a Frenchman. They seem to have a knack for making intelligent movies that are visually exciting without having to revert to a whole load of superfluous special effects.
If you enjoyed "Tell No One", "Pour Elle" and the excellent "Plender", you'll love this.
The only reason I don't give it 5 stars is because the end is not as strong as the rest of the film.
Enyoy - I did!
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on 21 July 2014
For me it just did'nt seem to work, the first half was interesting, then it tailed off, and seemed to lose it's way. Perhaps it was just me and someone else will get more out of it.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 April 2013
'The Big Picture' opens with a wistful and unfulfilled Romain Duris putting on a brave face for the benefit of his work colleagues and family, especially his children. His behaviour contrasts starkly with that of his icily distant wife (Marina Fois). Duris is superb as the husband whose careful juggling of expectations is shattered in a moment of confrontation. He is left with mere seconds to decide what to do, and the course he chooses leaves him constantly looking over his shoulder.

Niels Arestrup plays a deliciously enigmatic drunk and Catherine Deneuve's natural warmth is a delight. The editing makes each scene last no longer than necessary, producing a fast-paced, yet extremely detailed narrative. The ending is quite abrupt but provides a sufficiently logical and satisfying closure to the plot.

DVD extras include a subtitled interview with Douglas Kennedy (author of the novel on which the film was based) and director Eric Lartigau. There is also a 'Making Of' feature, and 'a meeting with' Eric Lartigau, Maria Fois and Romain Duris.

This is a film in which the realism is so intense that I felt completely immersed in the lives of the characters. It is a real find for me and one I shall be watching again with even greater anticipation than the first time.
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on 6 June 2015
Another great film from the master. Not quite what I was expecting from reading reviews, it starts as a tense relationship drama, then director turns up feeling of impending disaster with a few masterful strokes, Romain Duris is utterly believable playing a man on edge, it all leads to a shattering climax, and then a whole new storyline starts, but the threat is always there, waiting around the corner. But at least he left us with a glance at the possible happy ending this time.. or may be not..
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on 17 October 2013
it has flaws, some dodgy bits very early on and an odd ending, but it is a quality film noir.
8 out of 10 on first viewing.
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on 29 December 2014
Fabulous film looking at how one man changes his whole life by accident.
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on 29 April 2012
When I first saw this title I was ecstatic; the book by Douglas Kennedy was one I adored and had read numerous times. I was expecting a low budget US straight-to-DVD effort which i'd hoped would be faithful to the novel.

Surprised was I to see it had been transported to Paris with essentially the same story.

In fairness, I may have given it four stars had I not known the story in advance as it is a cracker, so I guess I knew what to expect. Essentially, it's a story of 'what if'. What would you do if you had your time again unencumbered with responsibilities; if you could pursue your dreams without compromise?

That's it in a nutshell, our hero is a frustrated photographer in a job he doesn't particularly like, in a loveless marriage. A freak accident affords him the chance to start over again.

I did like this interpretation as it was largely faithful to the novel. The only drawback was that - due to the plot- a fair amount of the film involved two differing nationalities speaking English which I found hard to understand at times. Although, the ending was different and better for it which I was pleased about.

In short, a good film though i'd recommend the book first.
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on 11 June 2015
Enjoyed the plot; very engaging and thoughtful.
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on 13 August 2014
Great story line and a moving lead performance.
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