An Unexpected Success

This is my review of The Big Picture [DVD].

I went to see this film with no expectations, and was pleasantly surprised. Duris plays a successful but outwardly cocky and insensitive young lawyer who harbours regrets over failing to pursue a youthful passion for photography. When he is forced to accept that his wife wants a separation, the fact that her lover is a photographer adds to his pain. An encounter with the man turns violent. As a result, the course of the "hero's" life is dramatically changed, at last he is able to pursue his art, but at a huge personal cost.

The film is well-acted, with Duris a charismatic leading man. His grief over losing contact with his children – his son is irresistibly appealing – is moving. The scenery when he hides away in Montenegro is beautiful, as is his photography, catching a ship in dock from dramatic angles, or groups of workers, half spontaneous, half wary of the camera. The plot maintains a sense of tension in which "anything could happen" and often does. I like the playing around with dream and reality, in which some dramatic scenes turn out to be imagined.

You can enjoy this story as an exciting adventure yarn – with a few implausible twists to be swallowed – or on a deeper level – an art house film as already suggested in an earlier review – as a study of man's instinct and capacity for survival, the price to be paid for one's actions, or the way that fulfilment may lie in creativity and a simple life – as exemplified by Duris's barren dwelling above a lake in a valley of incomparable beauty.

Finally, the open ending leaves you to imagine the hero's future fate as you will.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 Stars

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