Though it touches only lightly on its more delicate issues, ‘Untouchable’ will continue to win over audiences (perhaps even Oscar judges) for its irreverence and egalitarian sense of comic potential.
Already a verifiable global smash – having outsold ‘The Artist’ nearly three times over on its way to becoming the most successful French production ever – it recently acquired the added kudos of being selected as France’s official submission for the upcoming Oscars in February.
Based (albeit lightly) on a true story, the film portrays the relationship that ensues after a wealthy, white, quadriplegic Parisian (Philippe – Francois Cluzet) hires a Senegalese immigrant and ex-con (Driss – Omar Sy) to be his live in carer. Much more a comedy of manners than a comment on disability or contemporary France the film suggests the premise that in and because of their current conditions both Driss and Philippe are caught like fish-out-of-water and that in spite of obvious differences in class and physical capability this is suitable grounding for the pair to bond.
To some the film will seem a tad cheesy, I must confess I’m among that number, though it has to be acknowledged that in the way it thumbs its nose at political correctness ‘Untouchable’ is indeed a breath of fresh air and at times very funny. Its two leads carry the picture extremely well in a comic sense though it might be said the film doesn’t offer any real insight into either character or their relative conditions. True we witness Philippe’s night-terrors and Driss’ quarrels with a younger brother slipping into the traps inherent in ghetto life but both are really only tropes or subtexts for what is essentially a very gag-heavy physical comedy, with a happy ending tagged on the end. Still, the gags are often very funny and its heart’s in the right place.