Film Review: Scribe

There are very few, if any, male actors of a certain age, working in French cinema today, with a reputation as strong as François Cluzet. Whilst he found national fame, and won a César, for Untouchable, he’s been making quality films from decades. His best work, Tell No One and Little White Lies, are two of the better French films of this century. He finds himself caught in the middle of a conspiracy in Thomas Kruithof’s Scribe.

A couple of years after a nervous breakdown at work, Duval (Cluzet) is a recovering alcoholic desperate for a job. When, out of the blue, he receives a call from the mysterious Clément (Denis Podalydès), he jumps at the opportunity. Duval’s job is to go to an empty apartment every day and transcribe phone tapping tapes. He tries to ignores the contents, until the gruff Gerfaut (Simon Abkarian) arrives and his life become morally complicated and extremely dangerous.

Scribe is a conspiracy thriller which slowly cranks-up the tension. Kruithof wisely leans on Cluzet to add the element of believability. His situation justifies his desperation. His desperation justifies his increasingly reckless actions. As we listen along with Duval, our growing awareness of the situation mirrors his. As Duval becomes increasingly entangled in political intrigue, and the stakes increase rapidly, Scribe proves to be a quietly compulsive and tense drama.

Scribe is out in cinemas from Friday 21 June.

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