Friday, February 03, 2012

The Invader: Grade A


The Invader (2011).

Isaka Sawadogo, Stefania Rocca, Serge Riaboukine; Co-writer and Director Nicolas Provost. (French, subtitled).

Amadou (Sawadogo) is an illegal immigrant into Belgium from some unspecified country. He works construction jobs for an abusive, exploitative boss. He spies a wealthy woman (Rocca) who has some shady construction contract for his boss, and follows her. Turning on the charm, he gradually persuades her to go out with him, and a hot sex scene follows.

It is just marginally plausible that she would agree to that relationship but Sawadogo carries such on-screen charisma and charm, and Roccia projects a steamy hidden desire and arrogance, so we believe it. But when she discovers he is actually just a common worker, and illegal at that, she wants nothing more to do with him. He, however becomes obsessed with her and stalks her. Finding her social and economic world utterly closed to him, he turns violent. He kills first his boss, then several others.

I don’t actually remember how it ends. Badly, no doubt. But the message I took away was about how frustrating it would be for an immigrant with no resources to get a foothold in a foreign society that wants only his labor but not his humanity. Living cheek to cheek with the mainstream society, there is nevertheless an invisible and impenetrable barrier to realization of the promise and dreams that spur immigration in the first place. That frustration is enough to turn a victim into a enraged killer, at least dramatically.

It takes a bit too long to tell this story and the pace does sag in the middle. But the acting is excellent, the music quite good, and the story line, while not entirely convincing, nevertheless manages to convey a serious social commentary.

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