Mon 1 Apr 2013
At the beginning of the story in this film the hero seems to be at the peak of his life. He has it all: a comfortable life, a wife and two kids, he lives in a villa in the province and works in Paris as a successful lawyer on the brink of becoming lead of a lawyer office (inherited from a terminally sick woman played by Catherine Deneuve who has only three short scenes, but so great to see her still beautiful and in good acting form). At the end he has nothing, is a fugitive with no identity. And yet, the story is the one of fulfillment as the hero while losing his status and family will find himself, a new profession and passion.
It’s a very well written story and script (based on a novel by Douglas Kennedy). It also is a more than satisfying crime story (albeit it’s about an accidental murder) which as some point in time plays with the theme of the first book in the Bounty Identity series, with the murderer taking over the identity of the victim, and finding refuge in the least policed place in Europe (at least according to the script). It so happens that the victim was a photographer, and while trying to mimic his way of life the hero develops a passion and discovers a talent in the profession, actually a stronger talent than of the one of the true owner of the name. Succeeding means however acquiring fame, and this puts under risk his second identity. I will stop here in order to not disclose too much of the rest of the story, but I will just say that the mixture of crime story, stolen identity, and self-discovery works quite well in ‘L’homme qui voulait vivre sa vie‘ (the English title is ‘The Big Picture’).
Much of the film rests on the shoulders of Romain Duris and he is doing a fine job. I do not know too much about director Eric Lartigau, but he is telling the story and leading his team with a good professional hand. ‘L’homme qui voulait vivre sa vie’ is a god thriller and a compelling drama about a man who breaks twice the frames of his life, finding himself when he seems to have lost everything.