‘Untouchable’ review

Posted Filed under

The premise sounds tried and tested: privileged older white person makes life-altering decision to take younger, disadvantaged, disillusioned ethnic-minority under their wing.

Yes, it’s been done before (The Blind Side, Half Nelson, Bringing Down The House) but French film Untouchable takes that plot and turns it on its head with highly entertaining results.

It tells the story of Philippe (François Cluzet), a wealthy paraplegic who is looking for a new carer, and he eventually finds one in tall, weed-smoking Driss (Omar Sy). Driss comes from a poor area in Paris and is unable to read, but he swears like a trooper, loves Earth Wind & Fire and appeals to Philippe – and the audience – from the minute he steps through the door for his interview.

What follows is the unfolding of a lasting friendship, with this century’s The Odd Couple navigating love, life, loss and reckless driving.

Philippe may be confined to a motorised wheelchair for the rest of his life, but as he buys expensive art, goes paragliding (another hilarious scene) and beams with delight as Driss shakes his stuff to ‘Boogie Wonderland’, you get the sense that he is far freer than most of us.

Sy is a gem in this film, one part grinning prankster, one part deeply troubled soul who just wants to protect his poverty-stricken family. Driss, awed by the opulent living quarters he’s given and Philippe’s sexy assistant Magalie (Audrey Fleurot), often forgets that his charge is unable to move from the neck down and cracks jokes about the handicapped that would make us wince were they not delivered with such charm.

That’s not to say his co-star, Cluzet, should be overlooked by any means. Though playing a character that requires little movement, his desperately lonely yet fiercely intelligent and strong-minded Philippe leaps out at you from the screen.

Cluzet riffs off Sy effortlessly – having an infectious laugh definitely helps – and if you pitied Philippe at the start of the film you’ll leave feeling as empowered – and in love – as he does in its closing moments.

Based on a true story, Untouchable is arguably one of cinema’s all-time best bromances – and The Hangover it ain’t.

Released in UK cinemas on Friday 28th September 2012 by EDF.

> Visit the official website.

What did you think of Untouchable? Let us know below…