welcome to lobos reviews

title image

Movie Review: With a Friend Like Harry

Story: We have all used the phrase With a friend like (fill in the blank) - you don't need enemies, right? Well, this fascinating French psychological thriller also left me thinking about the adage Be careful what you wish for - if just might come true. The story was co-written and directed by Dominick Moll (a German born director now living and working in France) who won the Best Director, Cesar for his work on this film.

Essentially, middle class Michel and Claire, with their three screaming toddlers are en route to their 'fixer-upper' summer place when Michel meets Harry in a men's room along the way. Harry recognizes him from 20 years ago when they went to school together. Before you know it. Harry and his main squeeze, Plum, have insinuated themselves into this young couples life. (This is when it starts to get really creepy.) Many gifts, overnights and dinners later the pathological Harry character goes into full throttle. (Creepy overdrive.) With Hitchcock moments and shades of Patricia Highsmith's Talented Mr. Ripley, some of the film has a familiar quality, but not to worry, it has a creepiness all of it's own. The tension builds in an exotic foreign way without the viewer having to hide under a coat or close one's eyes. If you like thrillers (I do), foreign films, (but of course) and something cinematically unique, this film is for you.

Acting: Spanish actor Sergi Lopez is marvelous as the psychopath, Harry. From his initial introduction he owns the screen and becomes a fascinating presence. Laurent Lucas as Michel is terrific and very handsome, in that sexy French way. Mathilde Sergnier is perfectly cast as well, as the harried young mother, Claire.

Critters: One monkey (I think it might be a gibbon).

Food: Les Ouefs (eggs) play a big part in the film.

Visual Art: The summer place is still in the 'fixer upper' mode and there is no art except for some kiddie magnets on the refrigerator.

Blatant Product Placement: Mitsubishi 4x4 (has a big role).

Soundtrack: Excellent creepy music without using all of that in your face screaming American type soundtracks that one hears in our thrillers.

Opening Titles: Fabulous use of type, movement and shadow.

Theater Audience: Interesting crowd of about 15 men and me. Hmmmmm!

Quirky Meter: 5

Squirm Scale: 4

Predictability Level: Low

Oscar Worthy: Apparently Cesar worthy.

Nit Picking: The character, the brother did not work for me.

Big Screen or Rental: Either - of course I always prefer the big screen and the cinematography is terrific on the big screen in this one. You might want to have a creepy weekend and rent Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Length: 2 hours