Heartbeat Detector

By Gerald Aaron, May 16, 2008
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(12A)

It is necessary to concentrate to follow Nicolas Klotz’s intriguing drama since the director slowly builds his complex story without resorting to cliché. But the effort is worth it. This is a riveting narrative which, scripted from Francois Emmanuel’s book, La Question Humaine, draws parallels between the profit-driven inhumanities of contemporary corporate life and the brutalities of the Holocaust.

Human resources psychologist Simon Kessler (Mathieu Almaric) works in the French headquarters of a German multinational corporation and has spent seven years selecting new employees and “downsizing” superfluous executives. He is chosen by managing director Karl Rose (Jean-Pierre Kalfon) to report on the mental state of CEO Mathias Jüst (Michael Lonsdale), an investigation that traumatically reveals to Simon that the company for which he works once supplied equipment for the extermination of Jews to the Nazis. Almaric gives a powerful, multilayered performance, veteran Lonsdale is superb too in a disquieting but ultimately rewarding examination of unspeakable aspects of human behaviour.

    Last updated: 2:59pm, February 18 2011