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‘De battre mon coeur s’est arrête’ 2005/11/06

Posted by Dave in Movies, nights out, Reviews.

For Ruth's 30th, we went into the city centre for a night-out. First we went to the multi-storey cinema at the top of Renfield St — used to be called the UCG or UGC, but is now badged as "CineWorld" — and got two tickets for Mr.Jacques Audiard's 'De battre mon coeur s'est arrête'.

Then we strolled to 'Walkabout' for a quick drink before deciding to try out the authentic pizza from 'O' Sole Mio' — complete with famous genuine wood-burning, stone pizza oven. We shared everything, the deep-fried mozzarella and dip, the crispy potato skins and dip, and of course the pizza itself. All washed down with a nice red. Ruth went with the lemoncello dessert and I had a tuscan-style cheesecake. We have to report that the food was excellent, and the pizza was palpably different (and better).

So we rolled back to the multiplex and got to the third floor cinema 6 and settled down with a medium sweet popcorn to enjoy the film.

Tom (played by Romain Duris) — is the direct product of polar-opposite parents, and this film investigates his internal struggle to reconcile these internal/ genetic influences and to find himself and decide his future.

The simple message of the film (actually articulated by one of his 'better' business associates) : focus, concentrate, choose your way and stick to it; you cannot take your eye from the ball or else you'll suffer.

The bulk of the film is a linear month in the life of a 28 year-old, although at the end of the film we jump two years to see the final act and resolution.

Tom's mother died when he was 18, she suffered emotional swings, was extremely artistic and dedicated as a classical concert pianist. Somehow she was involved with Tom's father — a thickset thug who worked in real-estate deals that involved the forceable removal of squatters and dealing with gangs and their territories.

The film turns on a chance meeting between Tom and his mother's manager.

This encounter rekindles in Tom the genetic influence of his mother and he began to stray away from the influence of his father to begin practicing for an audition.

We see Tom's internal struggle as he takes his eye off the ball and lets everything get out of hand.

He cannot live both lives at the same time, the violence affects his music, and his hands — and vice versa. He wants to live up to his mother's aspirations, complete her work, and deal with the love of music imparted into his genes. Perhaps he felt he'd let her down.

In this month he lets his father down, he tries to get help (an old girlfriend to keep an eye on his dad for him), but in the end, his father gets beaten up time and again and eventually is murdered — because Tom has no time to spare anymore.

He realises that if his business partner could cheat on his own wife, then he could not be trusted. He also realises that he's been an alibi/accomplice for ages — so what did that make him?

He then has an affair with the wife, which he reasons is OK as he loves her, he had thought there would be changes, but when the deception seemed to suit this couple, Tom breaks the cosy scene by sleeping with a Russian gangster's girlfriend — possibly causing the death of his own father. The business partner then did the inevitable dirty dealing on him, and When the cheating business partner tricked him, was it simply inevitable (given that he was a cheat) or because Tom had an affair with his wife?

We see Tom struggle to focus, to practice, to be absorbed in the mechanical and robotic reproductive perfection of Bach's 'Toccata in E' in contrast with his free-form business lifestyle of spontaneous meetings, strange hours and thinking on his feet.

We wonder how he can be able to reconcile these polar-opposites… and yet at 30 years of age he actually finds the balance… but you'll have to see the film's final act to see how he does it!

'The Beat that my Heart Skipped' is a film well-worth seeing, it's not just a simple choose good over evil, Hollywood or Disney-style film. It is more about reconciliation, and understanding how someone can embody such disparate factors without being a 'schizo'. As Tom's parents stuck to their guns — and died as a result, perhaps the message of the film is not that we should focus on one thing at the expense of the other, but that we should focus on the reconciliation.


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