Two Days, One Night – a film review by Gary Chew
Marion Cotillard is nominated for an upcoming Oscar for Best Performance in Two Days, One Night. She’s terribly convincing as a character in it called Sandra. Curiously, the best outing for Cotillard in 2014 I saw was the lead in a smashing film titled The Immigrant. Ms. Cotillard won’t win for Two Days, One Night. The Oscar for the Best Performance by a Female Actor for 2015 will be Julianne Moore’s for the taking. Moore’s performance in the title role of Still Alice puts her in the strongest position.
I didn’t see it on a big screen but by streaming the film through my computer to my monitor. Like my computer monitor, the movie is small. It’s written and directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne and tells a story that would be more interesting if it had been a short subject and not the feature-length picture it is. And that’s too bad because the narrative takes an unaware moviegoer through the anguish of watching a young wife and mother of two fight fellow employees to keep her job. The work place dust up is generated by the company that employees them.
The fundamental message in Two Nights, One Day is “Solidarity.” Does a majority of the workers support Sandra with their vote to decline an across-the-board bonus with Sandra getting to keep her job as she returns from sick leave for serious depression … or should they take their bonuses with Sandra being laid off? Management contrives the scenario to divide the staff, keeping the “heat” at a lower level since competition is pushing the company to cut its staff by one.
The film is boring and slow as it chronicles Sandra and her husband lobbying several employees to her cause. The couple and their two young children are sure to return to the public dole if the vote is lost. That determination will come on the Monday after the Saturday when the film begins.
Management’s cooked-up scenario is a valid topic for thought. That’s the import of the film. However the simplistic presentation and slow-going quality most assuredly work against seeing Two Days, One Night.
French is the language spoken with quite visible English subtitles. Unhappily, the narrative’s turtle-like forward motion provided me with much more time than needed to read and then re-read the graphics. The steady use of locked, long takes of actors moving through mundane, repetitive action made a running time of just over ninety minutes seem longer.
I suggest again that a less recent movie which stars Marion Cotillard and shows her excellent talent in a better and more moving film is The Immigrant. It was released in the US in May 2014 and has Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner in the cast.
The Immigrant is a movie by James Gray, who also made We Own The Night and Two Lovers. Phoenix was cast in all these three Gray pictures.