Balancing the elements of both mainstream and art house cinema, Jacques Audiard’s ‘The Beat That Skipped My Heart’ is brilliant and riveting character study of contrast. Inspired from James Toback’s ‘Fingers’, the film is intense thriller shifting between gangster genre thrill and European art house classic. It portrays one of the finest and personal take of its young protagonist Thomas Seyr, tossing his life between murky and brutal real estate hoodlum and his dream to be a concert pianist. It seems that the man is the ghost of his parents’ troubled relationship, on one hand he’s following the criminal career of his father and on the other he is pursuing the dream of her mother to be a piano player. Out of his routine messy world of crime, the chance of piano audition led him to a Chinese lady teacher. The time spent here is the only solace of his otherwise tense and vulnerable life. The love and hate relationship he shared with his cribbing father with his unhealthy connections, is also key player in its plot and theme. On the other hand, the soul and beauty of his life lies in the recognition he gets from his piano teacher.
Audiard maintained gripping pace and control, keeping the narrative fully focused on its protagonist. Thomas is the man of contrast; he practices Bach’s Toccata E minor on Piano for audition but listens Electro pop on his headphone. I haven’t seen Toback’s original, starring Harvey Keitel (I’m going to catch it next, if possible!) but I’m sure it can’t be any better than this topnotch and crackling performance of Romain Duris. He just brought to screen the emotional and psychological vulnerable nerve of his character in all expressive shades and energy. Be it tension, anger, nervousness, charm or uncontrolled emotion, he brings the volatile stature of the man to screen in all contrast and brightness. Both Audiard and Duris stamped strong impression here and I’m so desperate to catch other films of both of them. Unfortunately none of them worked together after or before this!