The Intouchables

   Director: Olivier Nakache and EricToledano, Gaumont Productions, Rated M, 112 mins

One of the best movies of this year must be the French film ‘The Intouchables,’ an incredibly inspiring story of an aristocratic French quadriplegic who hires a nonconforming live-in carer, becoming firm friends over time despite coming from opposite sides of the class barrier.
The Intouchables
   Adapted to the screen by French directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano (Tellement proches) who also wrote the script, the movie tells their story in flashback, showing the wealthy but wheel-chair bound Frenchman Philippe (Francois Cluzet - Little White Lies) interviewing prospective carers together with his striking secretary Magalie (Audrey Fleurot - Delicacy) until being interrupted by the impulsive intrusion of Driss (Omar Sy - Tellement proches), an unemployed African from the Parisian ghetto.
   With no job in hand, Driss is surprised when he is offered the position, contributing to many humorous scenes, sometimes at the expense of Philippe’s disability.
   But as the story unfolds it becomes clear that Driss has provided Philippe with a real zest for life including bringing him closer to a woman that he is keen on whom he has been writing to for years and discounting his disability.
   Based on the true story of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and his carer Abdel Sellou, shown in a 2004 documentary, that was discovered by directors Nakache and Toledano, The Intouchables has all the right ingredients of emotion, humour and warmth as well as many wonderful moments shared between Driss and Philippe.
   Most appealing of all is the heart-warming relationship between the leading characters portrayed by Cluzet and Sy through their perfect performances, in particular that of Sy who has already received numerous awards for Best Actor.
   The Intouchables is a touching and feel good French film that defines acceptance of human beings irrespective of class and disability making it a memorable movie to watch.
VIC'S VERDICT:         4 ½ Rubber Stamps

Taken 2

   Director: Olivier Megaton, 20th Century Fox, Rated MA, 91 mins

Liam Neeson reprises his role as ex CIA agent Bryan Mills as does Maggie Grace as his daughter Kim whom he rescued from some Albanian human traffickers in Taken 1 together with Famke Janssen as his ex wife Lenore in this action-packed sequel directed by Olivier Megaton (Colombiana).
Taken 2
   The story begins with Mills wrapping up his assignment in Istanbul and inviting Kim and Lenore (who has just separated from her husband) to join him for a break away from Lenore’s marriage disappointment - unaware that the Albanian families of the men he killed in rescuing Kim are out to get him at all costs.
   Led by Albanian figurehead Murad Krasniqi (Rada Sherbedzija - X Men-First Class), they soon kidnap both Mills and Lenore with Kim avoiding capture, even helping her dad to escape that enables him to embark on rescuing Lenore.
   With many of the action scenes shot against the tantalizing Turkish surrounds, Neeson once again demonstrates his convincing performance as a likeable action star in a somewhat similar storyline to his earlier appearance which was far more dramatic and violent than that shown in Taken 2, but still able to show his overwhelming prowess by dispensing of his enemies at the same lightning speed as previously.
   Even with a less complex plot there is still a great deal to enjoy in Megaton’s movie in particular Neeson’s portrayal of the ex-CIA operative, ensuring that one won’t be taken for a ride in this stirring sequel.

VIC'S VERDICT:         3 Rubber Stamps

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