Donnant, donnant (2010)

aka: Fair is Fair


Donnant, donnant photo
Having been convicted for a crime which he insists was an accident, Constant escapes from the prison where he is being held. His arduous flight across town takes him to a deserted spot where he finds shelter on an abandoned barge. The next morning, a young woman recognises him as the escaped convict and makes him a strange proposal. She will not give him away to the police if he will murder her adoptive mother...
© 2012

Film Review

With her latest (third) directorial offering Isabelle Mergault proves the old saying that you should stick to what you are good at, which, in her case, is being an accomplished comedy performer. Mergault's directing career got off to a fair start with an amiable rom-com, Je vous trouve très beau (2005), but this was followed by the tacky lightweight comedy Enfin veuve (2008). Donnant, donnant, Mergault's third film, continues the downwards trend into the lower precincts of mediocrity, and is likely to put a definitive fullstop on her directing career, if the critical and public reaction to this alleged comedy is anything to go by.

It's hard to imagine how a film that boasts the combined talents of Daniel Auteuil and Sabine Azéma could go so badly wrong, but it does. The trouble presumably began with a disaster of a script which, not content with being the acme in bad taste, is not remotely plausible and even less funny. You're likely to find more wit and sophistication, let alone genuine human interest, in a cartoon for toddlers than in this hideous concoction that has been knocked together, seemingly without any thought, by someone who is supposed to be one of France's leading comediennes.

An appalling script does not necessarily make for a disaster of a film, but add on top of that Mergault's obvious lack of talent as a director and you're sure to end up with an irredeemable misfire of galactic proportions. Mergault's direction isn't just uninspired, it is as nauseatingly inept as her writing, as you can gauge from the quality of the performances. In no film have Auteuil and Azéma turned in such a bad day's work as they do here - the one (Auteuil) looks as if he has never acted before in his life; the other (the one with the scarily frizzy hair) looks as if she is up for an award for the most pointlessly histrionic performance of the century. The supporting cast are not much better but at least some of them (Medeea Marinescu) vaguely resemble professional actors rather than talentless wannabes. Donnant, donnant is the worst kind of film, a complete waste of space one that takes (time, money and patience) and gives absolutely nothing in return.
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Film Credits

  • Director: Isabelle Mergault
  • Script: Jean-Pierre Hasson, Isabelle Mergault
  • Cinematographer: Jérôme Alméras
  • Music: Cecilem
  • Cast: Daniel Auteuil (Constant), Sabine Azéma (Jeanne), Medeea Marinescu (Silvia), Ariane Pirie (Martha), Anne-Sophie Germanaz (Mauricette), Jean-Louis Barcelona (Éric), Christian Sinniger (Horace), Julien Cafaro (Victor), Géraldine Bonnet-Guérin (Alexia), Jacques Sanchez (Vincent), Bernard Alane (Le docteur Harvey), Gilles Vajou (Lulu), Timothé Riquet (Lucas), Norbert Ferrer (Le gardien de prison), Dominique Tufano (Le policier à l'hôpital), Laurence Badie (Margot), Renato Murgida (L'agent de police), Marie Battini (Nadège), Nils Revilliod (Le guichetier à la gare), Marie Lenoir (La voisine), Roland Copé (Le patron du bistot), Tom Morton (Anthony), Christian Gazio (Le prisonnier TV 1), Choukri Gabteni (Le prisonnier TV 2), Isabelle Tanakil (Françoise)
  • Editor: Véronique Parnet
  • Set designer: Jimena Esteve
  • Production company: Gaumont, Thelma Films, Les Films du Dauphin, France 2 Cinéma, Canal+, CinéCinéma, France Télévision, Région Ile-de-France
  • Country: France
  • Language: French
  • Support: Color
  • Runtime: 90 min
  • Aka: Fair is Fair

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