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Two Days, One Night


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

Director: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne

Pill-popping Sandra (Cotillard), recently 'recovered' from depression, has returned to her job at a solar panel factory only to be told that she is to be made redundant after her 16 co-workers vote for her to be let go rather than lose their 1,000 euro bonuses.

It's a bummer, and Sandra isn't coping well, until supportive hubby Manu (Rongione) persuades her to fight - visiting all 14 of those who voted against her, in a single weekend, after first persuading the bosses to hold a second - secret - ballot the following Monday morning.

The film's problem, apart from the repetitive nature of its story, is that the choice is clear - Sandra doesn't look able to hold down a wet towel, let alone a job. The woman is such a wet-eyed wimp that you're not surprised she lost the vote in the first place. And, as for trying to commit suicide and leaving two young children, well, don't even get me started on that.

The Oscar-winning Cotillard returns to her native France for this 'suspense' drama, but her character is so limp that it's tough to empathise with her attempts to save her skin. 'I don't want you to be laid off,' one co-worker tells her, 'but I need my bonus.'

The directors do strike an upbeat note at the end which, despite Cotillard's earnest endeavours, is probably the best moment in the film, as she finally shows a bit of spine. On balance, though, hand me the 1,000 euros.

David Quinlan

France 2014. UK Distributor: Artificial Eye. Colour by Eclair.
95 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 20 Aug 2014