Good But Not Brilliant,
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This review is from: A Self Made Hero [DVD]  (DVD)
After having read the reviews posted on Amazon I was looking forward to seeing this movie. I found it engrossing and well acted but I wouldn't describe it as "unmissable"
It centers around a fantasist who creates his own history in order to live the life to which he has aspires. (Incidentally the film also provides acute observations of those who,having previously acted out of the most principled of motives, subsequently play on their exploits in order to seek personal advancement).
Set in post war France it gives a good portrayal of the excitement, turbulence and uncertainties of the time.
However I have misgivings about the film which pertain to both the plot and the character of the principal protagenist.
We are are presented with a wimp who has not only always lived his life in a fanantasy but who is lacking in any talent at all.To the extent that he has ever been admired is because he plagiarisms arn't recognised for what they are.
Coward though he might be, he succeeds in insinuating himself into the ranks of veterans of the Resistance and passing himself off, in a charming and self deprecating manner,as one of the best of them.This is all beautifully observed.
But,once the character has established himself , the film loses it's plausibility.
Without giving too much away, let me simply say that our experience of interlopers is that if they are to be good enough to succeed in gaining entrance into the world to which they aspire, they have to be convincing enough not to be exposed by one egregious error.What is more, because people are generally reluctant to reach conclusions about minor incongruities,if a subtefuge is ever discovered, it is invariably as a result of a series of apparently trivial slips - dismissed at first - but which become cumulatively devastating.
What imposters cannot have are any scruples. They must be absolutely amoral and immune to the needs others. ( Those real life instances where imposters have passed themselves off as surgeons - even performing operations - come to mind). As a result,if they have relationships they are insignificant and to the extent that it is implied that the central character might have a conscience or be emotionally committed to anyone, it is incompatible with the psychology of such people.
I differentiate between those films which are "exceptional"and those which are merely "good" by a simple test.If I catch myself thinking about a movie for days after I have seen it, then it it is worthy of a rare five star rating.Well this film falls short on that score.