Capital (opening today) sets up an intriguing premise but then seems to lose itself in the familiar. In the opening moments, the CEO of the fictitious investment bank "Phenix" has a heart attack and although the man survives, a new CEO must be named to take his place. The CEO's protege, Marc Tourneuil (Gad Elmaleh), is recommended for the position. The old, crooked, corporate cronies at Phenix need a yes-man...a weak man that they can manipulate but who acts as an attractive figure-head for the bank. Marc definitely possesses the charisma, but the greedy executives never expected Marc to have an equal amount of ambition.
Marc takes over and quickly defies the others at every turn, putting sweeping changes in place almost immediately to make his company more profitable. At first, we assume that we are supposed to cheer for Marc's rebelliousness against the one-percenters that are trying to shape him, but we soon learn that Marc is much more dangerous.
Marc sternly glides through the film with a confident swagger. He is the Michael Corleone of investment banking: Cold, calculating and unfeeling. Of course, just underneath this is a boisterous fury of rage and ambition that he keeps at bay. But played by Elmaleh, his emotionless comes across more Nicolas Cage than Al Pacino...there is a blankness there.
Marc eventually is approached by a hedge fund manager, Dittmar Rigule (Gabriel Byrne) who is working his own angles. Much of the film deals with Marc's dealings with Rigule as their situation reaches a critical mass.
Capital does succeed in allowing us inside the minds of wealthy men with power. These men exist so high up on the mountain that we actually begin to understand why they don't really care about what happens at the bottom. When you are that high up, you might as well strive for the summit. And you can't turn back for the fallen, lest risk losing your own grip.
But something about Capital leaves you cold. After the initial set-up, it just sort of feels flat...it's corporate intrigue minus the intrigue.
Run Time: 1 hour, 54 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Gad Elmaleh, Gabriel Byrne, Natacha Regnier, Hippolyte Girardot, Olga Grumberg, Daniel Mesguich
Directed by Costa-Gavras (Missing, Betrayed, Mad City, Eden is West)
Opens locally on Friday, Nov 1, 2013 (check for show times).
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How to read Tom Santilli's "Star Ratings:"
- 5 Stars: Exceptional, must-see movie
- 4 Stars: Very good movie, not without flaws
- 3 Stars: The movie was just OK, leaves a lot to be desired
- 2 Stars: Pretty bad, a let-down, disappointing, but with some redeeming qualities
- 1 Star: Awful, sloppy, a total waste of time