Starring: Bérénice Bejo, Stéphane De Groodt, Suzanne Clément
Director: Fred Cavayé
Running Time: 90 mins
Nothing To Hide (Le jeu) is a French film about a group of seven friends who get together for a dinner party, and decide to play a game. Placing each of their phones on the table, they agree to share the content of every message they receive, as they have nothing to hide. However, it soon appears that this is going to be no normal evening.
Yet another remake of the Italian hit Perfect Strangers, France’s Nothing To Hide follows the brilliant original very closely, and as such makes for yet another entertaining watch, even if it doesn’t do much to set itself apart from the other remakes. With a good collection of performances and strong dialogue throughout, the film is engrossing and enjoyable throughout, although it does lack the slick intensity of a couple of its predecessors.
As of November 2018, we’ve had about five editions of the same movie. The original Italian by Paolo Genovese, the Spanish remake from director Álex de la Iglesia, as well as a Greek and South Korean version – the latter two of which I haven’t yet seen. As far as this French version goes, it’s very similar in style to the original, as well as the Spanish film, and it follows the same sort of atmosphere as the first film, with a darkly comedic vibe twinned with hyperbolic soap opera thrills.
If you haven’t seen any of these films, I would thoroughly recommend you go and watch the Italian original, but with regards to Nothing To Hide, it’s still an enjoyable and well-made film throughout, even if you’ve seen previous versions of the same story.
Above all, the performances here are excellent. While the characters may not act in quite as chaotic a manner as we see in the Italian original, there’s a pleasing chemistry between the leading seven actors here, with a particular stand-out performance from Suzanne Clément, who is equally hilarious and thrilling to watch as a beleaguered middle-aged mother, putting in arguably the best performance of all those portraying the same character in other films.
The story itself is excellent once again, and although I can’t give the film too many points given that it follows the original so closely, I will say that it is a plot that works so well either on first watch or umpteenth. Full of ridiculous thrills and twists that will make you gasp, snowballing throughout into what is effectively the ultimate soap opera thriller, Nothing To Hide is an immensely entertaining watch from beginning to end.
On the flipside, while the movie effectively emulates the brilliance of the story from the original, director Fred Cavayé isn’t always able to keep control over the deliberately chaotic story in the same way that both Genovese and de la Iglesia managed in the Italian and Spanish versions respectively.
While the visual style is once again slick and satisfying, the film fails to keep all of its characters knitted tightly together in one painfully tense and awkward emotional rollercoaster, and as such comes off as a little more frantic, rather than the beautifully slick thriller that I know the story can be.
Overall, then, I enjoyed Nothing To Hide. Having already seen the same story twice in recent years, it’s not a film that’s teeming with originality, but it tows the line of the original closely throughout, and as such makes for an entertaining and engrossing watch regardless. What’s more, an excellent cast helps to keep the film feeling as fresh as possible at times, although the somewhat more frantic direction means that Nothing To Hide doesn’t quite stand up to some of its slicker predecessors, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5.