Paul Wertret (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) is a middle manager at a bank badly caught up in the maelstrom of the global economic downturn. The film begins as we see him get dressed for work as usual, kiss his wife goodbye, and commute to the office. Then he pulls a gun from his bag.
As colleagues scatter and the police scramble to respond, Paul's backstory unfolds in a series of flashbacks. We see him transformed, slowly, from a gregarious, happily married father, fulfilled in his career, to a cynical, depressed shadow of his former self, humiliated by his younger superiors in the office. Regret and hopelessness start to overwhelm him as the tragedy of that opening morning draws closer.
De bon matin is not an uplifting film, then, but it is a thoughtful and humane portrait of a man losing his way. It also reminded me that no event – from a spiteful word to the collapse of a company – takes place in a vacuum. There are always consequences, seen or unseen. Jean-Pierre Darroussin gives a typically strong performance, and the flashbacks, presented in non-chronological order, leave the viewer with questions as well as answers. Worth seeing.
De bon matin will be available as part of My French Film Festival for £1.65 until 17 February