It’s the story of a few powerful men and the war that they wage. It’s a story about today’s princes who settle scores via the stock exchange and high finance deals.
It’s the story of a son caught up in the thick of a financial struggle between two businessmen – an inheritor and two kings – which also involves a chamberlain, a madman and a brute.
Jurrieu, adoptive father of Léonard, controls an industrial armaments company. Hammer, boss of a large international distribution network, has had his eye on Jurrieu’s company for a long time. Léonard, champing at the bit to take on more challenging work, is tired of being kept in the background by his father. He becomes the pawn in a setup concocted by the unscrupulous Hammer. Léonard gets caught in the trap, but the outcome is nothing like Hammer had in mind. Léonard will destroy himself rather than give in to his father’s rival. Confronted by extreme situations, he discovers that he is a son while becoming a man.
Like “Hamlet,” this is a story of a young prince who decides to change his life. A dark story of inheritance, of a prince locked up in Elsinor, paralyzed – who knows why – always about to act but condemned to constantly ruminate about things instead.
He’s a man that’s too young trapped in a world that’s too old.
Based on a deeply Shakespearean play by contemporary playwright Edward Bond, the film scrutinizes power’s dark side and unexpectedly recalls seventies American cinema: “All the President’s Men,” “French Connection,” “Three Days of the Condor,” “Network” and “Marathon Man.” Films whose protagonists were willing to take on any obstacle and challenge the state so that the guilty would eventually be unmasked.
It’s precisely this encounter between the theater and the B-film – like a resonance chamber provided by film noir to the most political form of art – that this present adaptation has chosen to celebrate. There is no final guilty person, just a few powerful men who work in the shadows and turn the world into a jungle. The film doesn’t judge these men: they are today’s kings, noble and terrifying. And their passions light our lives. Just like the screen gives us back the world that escapes us.