Fifth about The Seventh

Sink or Swim (Le Grand Bain)

Sink or Swim: while there is something inherently comic in the idea of middle-aged men performing synchronized swimming, Gilles Lellouche avoids cheap humour and focuses instead on the human drama. It is not their performance on the pool as a team that is most inspiring, but the friendship between these (mostly) men instead, how completely they lean on each other as a means to escape the hardships of their troubled existence. The performances are generally quite good: Mathieu Amalric as the depressed main character, Guillaume Canet as the irritable member, Virginie Efira as their coach, are all solid. Philippe Katerine has the trickiest role, one that could easily slip into ridicule, but he is quite good as the most awkward and troubled member of the crew. Benoît Poelvoorde is the weakest link, as he tends to overact on occasion. Cinematographer Laurent Tangy’s work is effective over and under water. Simon Jacquet’s editing is mostly a bit too indulgent, but some sequences (particularly the climax) are very effective.

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