Despite promising characters, Le Clan never really transcends beyond what it is - a loving, photographic study of beautiful, bored, alienated masculinity. If looking at naked, sweaty, muscular Frenchmen is your bag, then this film about three brother has much to recommend it. The camera lingers so appreciatively over the frequently nude Nicolas Cazalé that it is easy to forget exactly what is going on. Sadly, this hardly matters.
The plot; yes, the plot. Rebellious middle brother Marc (Cazalé) is in trouble with some local thugs, and expects his elder brother Christophe (Stéphane Rideau, hardly nude at all) to help once he gets out of prison. He, though, wants to go straight, and gets a job in a ham factory. Youngest brother Olivier (Thomas Dumercherz, not nude until near the end) spends all his time dreamily practicing capoeira. Marc does some drugs and goes a bit mad, Christophe gets a promotion, and Olivier has some sex and goes hang-gliding. And it's apparently all to do with their dead mother.
"CAZALÉ'S SHOWBOATING DRAGS THE SHOW TO LIFE"
If these stories don't seem to be that interesting - and, well, they aren't - it is to the credit of the actors that the film generates any momentum at all. Rideau invests Christophe's remorse with a quiet intelligence to bring depth to a limited role, but it is Cazalé's showboating, self-righteous insanity that drags the show to life. Marc's raw, directionless anger, like the film, ends up as so much wasted effort - but that, in a funny way, seems to be the point.
French with English subtitles.