Combustible Celluloid
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With: Romain Duris, Niels Arestrup, Aure Atika
Written by: Jacques Audiard, Tonino Benacquista, based on a screenplay by James Toback
Directed by: Jacques Audiard
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: French with English subtitles
Running Time: 107
Date: 02/17/2005

The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Wrapped Around His 'Fingers'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

It's fairly unusual to see a French remake of an American movie, and some experts have been puzzling over whether other examples even exist. Yet here is Jacques Audiard's The Beat That My Heart Skipped, based on James Toback's great 1978 film Fingers, starring Harvey Keitel. Romain Duris stars as a thug who listens to electronic music on his headphones (Keitel loved girl bands in the original) and helps his father run their shady real estate business by dumping rats into occupied apartments or smashing windows. A brush with his late mother's old concert promoter re-awakens his passion for classical music, and he begins to practice for an audition. Duris turns in a complex performance as this sometimes unlikable, explosive character and Audiard's camerawork has an appealing gloomy, exploratory quality. Yet, like any remake, it lurks in the shadow of its predecessor; The Beat That My Heart Skipped often feels meek, as if afraid to truly tromp on the original's territory. It pays homage with a distant politeness, treating Fingers as an untouchable, unshakable idol.

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