“Two Days, One Night”
I seem to review a lot of foreign language films on here. First Blue Is the Warmest Colour, then Big, Bad Wolves and Filth if you count a thick Scottish accent as a foreign language (which it basically is). At this rate I should get the title of international correspondent if that is at all possible. Anyway, I guess I need to talk about the movie.
Two Days, One Night follows Sandra (Marion Cotillard) over the course of, you guessed it, two days and one night as she seeks to convince her colleagues to vote for her to get her job back instead of taking a significant bonus.
The film is written and directed by the acclaimed Dardenne brothers who have previously won the Palme D’Or on two occasions which is virtually unheard of placing them in the same category as Coppola and Haneke. Their experience and talent for filmmaking clearly shows in this very focused and streamlined film which takes place over a very short period of time in very few different locations with only one central conflict and character. It’s almost harder to make a film like this because there’s no flashy filmmaking techniques to hide behind, only the events on screen.
I quite like this ultra-realistic style as it allows the film to operate purely as a piece of narrative and a piece of visual art. The cinematography is not particularly adventurous but it does capture the everyday beauty that exists everywhere, even in an industrial Belgian town.
Marion Cotillard is also extremely impressive in the central role of a woman struggling with holding down a job and providing for her family while also fighting against mental illness and the stigma that surrounds it.
The film also deals with several other issues like race, poverty, financial difficulties and relationships. I believe they do all of this with subtlety and the necessary sensitivity that these subjects deserve. However, one issue I do have with the film is by dealing with so many issues in such a short film it does leave a lot of things feeling unfinished and shallow in comparison to the central issue.
I’m not going to take anything away from that because there is virtually nothing to fault this film on and it seems a bit unfair to criticise something which is so polished and well executed while still being subtle and moving. It’s basically faultless apart from that one thing which didn’t take away from the experience in the slightest.
5 out of 5
This film was released as part of the prestigious ‘Criterion Collection’ and can be purchased on Amazon: