Unemployed men attempt a heist in The Right Of The Weakest, a dry but thought-provoking Belgian drama. Taking time to develop its characters, it sees two former steel workers team up with an ex con in an attempt to help Patrick, a broke house husband who dreams of buying his wife a new moped. Their struggles are convincing and fittingly amusing, but don't come here looking for laughs: the conclusion is sobering stuff.
The Right Of The Weakest opens like a po-faced Belgian version of The Full Monty, pleading for sympathy for its out-of-work heroes, who are desperate for both cash and respect. Clubbing together to play the lottery, they soon realise more drastic means are called for, and turn to former robber Marc Pirmet (writer/director Lucas Belvaux) for advice.
"SEARING SOCIAL COMMENT"
The build-up is emotive and quietly involving: it's hard not to be moved by the tears of Patrick's young son, heartbroken when the much-anticipated lottery draw fails to deliver. This is a portrait of a bleak society: breadline folk living in the shadow of the steel factory that laid them off after decades of service. It's a searing social comment that offers no easy answers, save perhaps to promote friendship and family as a coping structure. Director Belvaux indulges himself in the final scene, which focuses on his character to melodramatic effect, but the point is made. More humour could have made The Right Of The Weakest easier to swallow, but perhaps this bitter pill is meant to stick in your throat.
The Right Of The Weakest is out in the UK on 28th Sept 2007.