Duval (Francois Cluzet, famous for 2011's The Intouchables) is an accountant. We meet him as he's descending into a life-changing meltdown and, after a stint of unexpected overtime seems to unlock some kind of obsessive-compulsive impulse inside him, he hits the bottle with unhappy results.
Kruithof introduces his protagonist with real verve, and manages to make a session of late-night file-organisation feel gripping and high-stakes. It's an atmosphere that he manages to sustain until his film becomes more of a conventional thriller.
A couple of years later, Duval is jobless and alone, spending his days doing jigsaw puzzles in his kitchenette. The good news is that he's just earned his One Year Sober chip from his local AA group; the bad news is that, without the possibility of a good reference from his accounting firm, he's unemployable.
Almost unemployable. Receiving a phone call from a mysterious source, he's summoned to an interview with the eyebrowless Clement (Denis Podalydès), the head of a so-called 'surveillance organisation'. Duval is hired to transcribe the tapes of wire-tappings. The dodgy political implications of these recordings are obvious; their contents clearly incriminate not only those overheard, but also the eavesdropper and, eventually, the transcriber.
Soon Duval finds himself hearing things he shouldn't, involved in schemes against his will, and unable to quit a job he wishes he'd never accepted.
None of this makes a whole lot of sense. It's implied that Duval has been picked as a typist because he's desperate and easily manipulated, but wouldn't it be better to hire someone who believes in the surveillance firm's right-wing politics? Clement says as much, and then hires the apolitical Duval anyway. It's this disregard for the flavour of reality that gives Scribe the antiseptic tang of allegory.
|What||Scribe film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
21 Jul 17 – 21 Sep 17, Times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|