Film: Night Shift

In a small French town, Pierre takes on a job at a bottle factory to help pay for a house he is building for his family. Pierre is a nice, friendly, timid and a devoted family man. He is totally opposite to the lead figure at his workplace. He is charismatic, but, at the same time, comes off threateningly violent. After a strange first confrontation with this character, he introduces himself officially. His name is Fred.

At first, Fred seems to mess around with him. For example: he tells Pierre that the last one out has to clean the toilets. Little does he know, Fred is playing a joke on him and the cleaner later turns up.

At first Pierre thinks that is just because he’s the new guy. As each day goes by, the jokes become more and more on the borderlines of psychological harassment and physical bullying. Pierre stands up for himself, and, eventually the two make amends and become friends. As Pierre becomes a more popular figure at the workplace, Fred begins to feel like he is slipping away from being the figure he once was. He begins to see Pierre as a threat because of this. Fred at best can be described as a psychopathic real life version of Jekyll & Hyde. He constantly switches from being friendly to menacing in a split second.

The bullying begins to reach boiling point, as Fred begins to play more deadly mind games. Pierre keeps silent about the bullying, the whole workplace know of these events but keep quiet as well. His family is unaware of this development, until his son eventually witnesses an act of sudden violence against his father. Personal vendetta begins to consume his son’s mind, and he decides to go after Fred. Events become more violent, personal and dangerous for everyone involved.

Night Shift is different to the new wave of French shockers. Director Philippe Le Guay focuses on the psychological effects of mentally torturing someone. The cinematography is truly magnificent. When we enter the factory, there is little to no light, the noise is unbearable and the dangerous working environment is full of life threatening hazards. All of these elements help to create a true sense of isolation from the rest of the world and a sense of panic. The location is a clever metaphor that expresses Pierre’s true feelings about the situation with Fred.

The acting is top rate. There is not one person mis-cast throughout the entire film. Marc Barbe is truly terrifying as Fred. His performance is so well played. When his nice, you love him as he comes off as a really cool person. When he suddenly switches, he is a truly frightening on screen antagonist. Gerald Laroche plays Pierre with such conviction. You eventually forget he is actually acting. The tension throughout the film is unbearable. When the film reaches its climax, some viewers may be disappointed by the ending. It does lead the audience into a false expectation that they might get a Hollywood style ending. Le Guay stays true to the reality of the events just as he does with the rest of the material and provides a more insightful ending that in reality most likely happen.

A good film makes you forget you’re watching one. Night Shift achieves this. Not only is it a truly disturbing experience, it’s a film that will stay with you for a long time. Whatever you do, don’t work in a bottle factory with an employee named Fred!

Fan: TJ Porter

No comments:

Post a Comment