Now Or Never (Maintenant Ou Jamais)
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By Margaret Chrystall
Most of us don’t take unexpected, devastating dream-smashing debt as a cue to rob a bank. But in this romantic crime thriller – bit of an unusual crossover as it sounds - Leila Bekhti (The Prophet) as piano teacher Juliette is determined her perfect family and their almost-finished new house won’t be compromised when husband Charlie (Arthur Dupont) loses the finance job – and huge loan – that have funded the beautiful life she’d planned just outside Paris.
What happens: When Juliette’s handbag is stolen by a street thief, it looks like just another desperately bad piece of luck. But angry at life, Juliette’s courage and ingenuity are on full power as she uses an opportunity to find an accomplice to steal the money she needs to keep the family home. Meeting petty criminal Manual (Nicolas Duvauchelle) gives her the chance to halt her plans for the new home’s garden tables, shelves and beds for her two little boys and plan the bank ‘job’ with meticulous precision. But the two must spend time together for crucial surveillance. Inevitably, strain on family life and proximity to the stranger subtly alters the Juliette we first met. As Manual points out: “Why are you still here, is it your perfect Playmobil life … you’d risk 10 years for that? And will you recognise your kids when you come out?” This one chance to make Juliette’s dreams real, makes for an increasingly nail-biting thriller with intense performances from both Bekhti and Duvauchelle.
Does it niggle that this robbery is not for some grand love, or life or death struggle, but just a better life for the families of these two first-timers? Yes. But would that justify not seeing it? No and Bekhti in particular makes the most of her role at the centre of the action.
When the bank calls in the house loan: “No-one asked you to dream beyond your means.”
And as they plan the bank job, Manual says: “To go in there takes rage like yours .”
Juliette: “Rage is contagiuous.”
Who for: Anyone who appreciates a moody French thriller and the chance to see possibly new to UK viewers two newish screen talents flexing their muscles.
No news yet of a return date to Eden Court Cinema.