Priceless (Hors de Prix)(9/10)
by Tony Medley
Running Time: 113 Minutes.
People who only go to see
American films, or who eschew foreign films because they don’t like
subtitles, are missing the best in film. For my money, there is no
comparison between this little Dutch gem and four of the five films that
were nominated for the Academy Award in 2007.
Irène (Audrey Tautou) is a
beautiful woman of no talent other than seducing older rich men. She
meets a bartender, Jean (Gad Elmaleh), but mistakes him for a rich man,
an impression he takes pains to reinforce. She beds him (or him her),
resulting in disaster in her relationship with Jacques (Vernon Dobtcheff),
who was ready to marry her.
Thus begins one of the more
unusual love stories you will see. Tautou gives a good performance as
the manipulative beauty who sees her life undone by love, but Elmaleh
steals the show as the lovesick puppy who gives up everything for his
quest of Irène and won’t take “no” for an answer. This is another
sparkling performance by Elmaleh, an actor I last saw in 2006’s “The
Valet,” a film that had a fate to which this is unfortunately probably
inevitably destined, a
wonderful film that few will see.
Adding to the fun of the
script (Benoît Graffin and Pierre Salvatori), directing (Salvatori) and
the acting is the locale. The film was shot on location on the Cote
d’Azur and the cinematography (Gilles Henry) takes full advantage of the
This is a priceless gem, a
certainty to be on my list of most enjoyable films of 2008. In