Review: Two Days, One Night

The premise of the latest film from the Dardennes is a little trite, but the execution is as assured as ever

Marion Cotillard: there are enough ruffles and creases to distract from her celebrity

Film Title: Two Days, One Night

Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

Starring: Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione, Pili Groyne, Simon Caudry

Genre: Drama

Running Time: 95 min

Tue, May 20, 2014, 17:30

   

Can the Dardenne brothers, Belgian realists par excellence, jointly become the first men to win three Palmes d’Or at Cannes? It’s possible. The premise of their latest film is a little bit trite, but the execution is as assured as ever. An excellent Marion Cotillard, the starriest star to yet do service for the brothers, appears as Sandra, a harassed woman who has recently recovered from a bout of depression, facing up to redundancy from her job at a solar-panel factory. Her boss asks the employees to decide Sandra’s fate in a secret ballot: if they vote in her favour, they will sacrifice their €1,000 bonuses. (Such things do happen, it seems.)

Encouraged by her supportive husband (Fabrizio Rongione), Sandra sets out to visit each colleague and persuade him or her to help save her job. She hears a slightly different story from every person. A few are openly hostile. One breaks down. Many explain that, whereas they want to support her, they must prioritise their own looming financial catastrophes.

Shooting, as ever, with mobile cameras that often lurk behind the actors, the brothers build up unexpected levels of tension as the unfortunate hero overcomes mortification to beg for survival. There are enough ruffles and creases on Cotillard’s exterior to distract from her celebrity. As her tiny odyssey progresses, Two Days, One Night, less searing than their earlier pictures, turns into a moving, though entirely unsentimental, tribute to the resilience of people under the pressures of late capitalism. On a trivial note, it’s a shame the directors persist with their strange habit of having characters pass comically unconscious after a biff on the head. Not that it matters much.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.