The Beat that my heart skipped (De battre mon cœur s’est arête)
Director: Jacques Audiard
Cast: Romain Duris, Niels Arestrup
The Beat that my heart skipped is a delightfully name French film about a real-estate thug, Tom(Duris) who is constantly pulled by his dreams, while continuously being pulled back by his reality. His reality of crime and easy money, the power of force and the rush it brings. It seems as though Tom’s one true purpose in life is to be a real-estate goon. His father, Robert(Arestrup) is a dodgy real-estate dealer who asks Tom for help to deal with difficult customers.
Tom meets his father at a restaurant and his father reveals that he wants to marry his girlfriend and would like Tom to meet her. Tom doesn’t seem particularly excited at the prospect but agrees nevertheless. We realize that he has grown to be protective about his father, especially since his mother’s death because his immediate reaction is to be unfriendly, disapproving and insulting towards her.
The movie doesn’t move very much. It starts off very excitingly and looks like it will be a racy one, filled with gangs and petty crime. That is not so and instead it takes you on a journey of torn ambitions. Tom’s one true desire is to be a concert pianist, just like his mother. He enlists the help of his mother’s ex-manager who tells him to audition. He starts practicing and begins piano lessons with a young virtuoso, Miao Lin to help him perform at the auditions. The scenes between the two make for an interesting watch as Tom can speak only French and Lin can speak only Chinese, Vietnamese and a little English!
But, Tom is unable to complete the audition. He is stressed out and overworked and finds his father murdered in his apartment. Tom knows that the Russian gangster, Minskov is behind this. What becomes of Tom? Does he become a pianist as his heart wishes or does he stick to his low-life career of crime, exploitation and easy money? The character of Tom is wonderfully portrayed and his innocent excitement about all things piano is heart-warming. Watch the movie to know whether Tom gives into easy money or lets his passion take him on the journey called life.
Verdict: Slightly slow but a very interesting take on the assumed polarities in a criminal’s life – easy money or chasing one’s dreams. Can they both co-exist?
Hot: That a criminal nurses such sweet dreams inside him.
Not: Slow. The movie could’ve been faster paced keeping in mind it is about a criminal after all.