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Heartbeat Detector

August 30, 2010

Heartbeat Detector (2007)
Director: Nicolas Klotz
Actors: Mathieu Amalric, Michael Lonsdale, Jean-Pierre Kalfon

Synopsis: Simon (Mathieu Amalric), an HR Psychologist, discovers troubling links between the corporation he works for and Nazism.

Review: Mining the same disquieting and darkly prescient tone as Michael Haneke’s recent masterpiece Caché, Nicolas Klotz’s Heartbeat Detector is a lyrical and profound treatise on the human cost of the industrial and corporate imperative. Using Mathieu Amalric’s company psychologist as the ‘control’ through which to effect his discourse, Klotz excels in presenting a society that has embraced a quasi-fascist ethos, not just through work environment (all sceptic boardrooms and jarringly-clinical archive vaults), but in the cultural arena too (where brazen techno beats have overreached all classical forms of music). The tête a tête played out between corporate heads Michael Lonsdale and Jean-Pierre Kalfon as they succumb to mutual suspicions about the other’s murky Nazi links is brilliantly played out, and the twist at the end regarding the true perpetrator of the company plot and his reasoning and philosophy behind it, is a thematically nailed-on ending to all the ideas that have been explored in the narrative. Probably the only aspect that marginally mars the end-result is that Amalric’s central character at times feels like a flimsy, mechanical device conveniently designed to have a breakdown as the company conspiracy spirals, and with an obvious dichotomy in his personal life that sees him too often spurn the attentions of a beautiful and talented singer, for the mind-numbing escapism of sex, drink and drugs that are the offshoots of his corrosive working life. (March 2009)

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