Neil Young’s Film Lounge – The Closet
Le Placard : France 2001 : Francis Veber : 87 mins
After Le Diner de Cons comes another breezily broad-brush French farce from the Veber production line. Pignon (Daniel Auteuil), an anonymous middle-manager at a condom factory, hears he’s about to be sacked. When he confides in his neighbour, the older man comes up with an unlikely scheme to keep Pignon in his job if the bosses think Pignon is gay, they won’t dare to sack him. Pignon, who’s actually straight (hes divorced with a teenage son) goes along with the deal. The resulting shenanigans bring him into unexpectedly close contact with the racist, homophobic office bully (Gerard Depardieu) who’s forced to re-examine his own presumptions and prejudices.
Most of the best laughs are generated early on this isn’t a long film by any means (and the end comes so suddenly it feels like an editing error) but it does run out of gas around the half-way point as the convolutions of plot and character become increasingly laboured. Vebers TV-flat direction means there’s nothing going on here apart from the script, which is essentially sentimental, conventional and fairly predictable. Hes using some old-fashioned controversial issues as a means to explore his usual comedic concerns of family and work, and its hard to know what gay audiences will make it all – especially since the one proper gay character is kept so firmly on the sidelines we never seem him outside of his flat.
11th March 2002
(seen 26th February, Cineworld Milton Keynes)
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by Neil Young