Spotlight 

The Beat That My Heart Skipped

You know you're watching a great character study when the physical minutiae of the actors onscreen become as fascinating to you as their motivations. In Taxi Driver, it was Robert De Niro's Travis Bickle, clenching his fist above an open flame, whose form burned itself into the memory. In The Beat That My Heart Skipped, the new film by French director Jacques Audiard (Read My Lips), it is the roving hands and tormented posture of Thomas Seyr, played with fiery charm and saving cynicism by Romain Duris.

The film is a remake of James Toback's 1978 film Fingers, starring Harvey Keitel. The plot involves a young man caught between a world of crime and a passion for art. The difficulty is how to merge these two worlds -- in Audiard's case, updated to the seedy underworld of Paris real estate and the highbrow landscape of concert halls -- without making the character's emerging struggle too contrived.

Because all the relationships Thomas develops along the way seem so genuine, the film is able to transition back and forth between the violent world Thomas has inherited from his father and the realm of concert piano, a musical legacy of his mother. Most satisfying is that the film does not end predictably, with a droll success. Rather it maintains its razor edge past the point of comfort. Like its predecessor, The Beat That My Heart Skipped culminates in bloody failure, but unlike Toback, Audiard does not conclude with his protagonist's solitary disintegration. His epilogue attests to a film that is elegiac without being hopeless.

Opens Friday, September 9th, at Studio on the Square

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • Unreal Film Festival 2017

      Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy Festival Invades Studio On The Square.
    • Ingrid Goes West

      Audrey Plaza’s Instagram envy turns toxic in this sharp, entertaining satire.
    • Outflix Film Festival 2017

      The Homegrown Festival Marks Twenty years of Bringing LBGTQ Films To The Mid-South

Blogs

Intermission Impossible

Dream Home Heartache: "A Doll's House" is as Modern as it Ever Was

News Blog

Former Chef Convicted in Child Abuse Case

News Blog

Bike Share Program Seeks Director

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Namazu

From My Seat

No Fun League (2017)

Tiger Blue

Tigers 44, Southern Illinois 31

Beyond the Arc

Grizzlies trade Troy Daniels to Phoenix

Music Blog

Listen Up: Louise Page

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Ben Popper

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation