Untouchable (15)


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The Independent Culture

Here it is, the French film that's busting blocks all over, outgrossing Potter, Titanic and Avatar in certain territories, and currently sitting pretty on a box-office haul of $356m.

It would take a film critic to rain on this parade, so here goes: it's a third-rate buddy movie that hardly understands its own condescension. Philippe (François Cluzet) is a paraplegic Parisian millionaire who selects from a crowd of applicants the least likely care-giver – a tall black dude named Driss (Omar Sy), who's come from the projects because he needs a signature to claim benefits.

No time to ponder the racial stereotyping because we're off on a heartwarming journey of companionship, wherein Driss will charm Philippe with his irreverent japes, teach him the meaning of rhythm (Earth, Wind & Fire) and even arrange a night in a brothel.

Why has the world flipped for this movie? Maybe it's the fantasy it spins on racial/social/cultural mores, much as Driving Miss Daisy did 20-odd years ago – uptight rich white employer learns to love through black employee's life-force. That was set in the segregationist America of the 1940s. What's this film's excuse?