Heartbreaker (L’arnacœur)

So many movie gems are found by serendipity. In the case of Heartbreaker (L’arnacœur), a 2010 French romantic-comedy, discovered at a recent screening at the university. The trio of Alex (Romain Duris), his sister and her husband are in a special business, that of breaking up a girl in love. They take the contract from the victim’s relatives and Alex becomes the heartbreaker, who will floor the girl with his charms and thus show her the inadequacy of her current partner. Their undefeated streak runs into trouble when they are hired to break up Juliette (Vanessa Paradis), who is marrying an Englishman in 10 days at Monaco. The trio set up elaborate plots to give Alex a shot at her, none of which work and meanwhile Alex actually falls in love with her.

Heartbreaker is a truly entertaining movie arriving after a long dry spell in the rom-com genre! Engaging from the opening scene itself, the movie totally rests on the cocksure and comical Romain Duris. The sunny glamourous setting of Monaco, the Frenchness (if there is something like that), the racing plot and the romantic ending, all complement the movie nicely. Funny in every other scene, Heartbreaker never takes itself seriously and yet captured me in a rapture that ended only when the credits rolled.

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L.A. Confidential

L.A. Confidential is a film noir set in Los Angeles of the 1950s. The story peeks at the shady connections between the police, the tabloid press, the drug network, the movie industry and the prostitution ring in the city. The principal heroes are three police officers of different shades: Guy Pearce is a rule-follower wanting to climb the ranks, Russell Crowe is highly temperamental and Kevin Spacey is after fame and glamour. Lest I forget there is Kim Basinger as a prostitute who charms the hearts of both Crowe and Pearce. A mysterious carnage at the Night Owl cafe and the hunt for the killers brings them together, inspite of their mutual hatred, and they discover a malaise in their department that runs deeper than they can fathom.

The movie could have very well been created by the hands of Frank Miller, it flows and looks veritably like Sin City. The plot is juicy, and is based on the book of the same name by James Ellroy. The main characters have all acted well, with a cast that includes Russell Crowe and Kevin Spacey, that is hardly surprising. But, especially notable is Guy Pearce, who I am not familiar with. Though quite long at 2+ hours, L.A. Confidential is an engaging dark fable.