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  • Big Picture [Blu-ray] (Version française) [Import]
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Big Picture [Blu-ray] (Version française) [Import]


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Product Details

  • Format: NTSC, Import
  • Language: French
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Mpi Home Video
  • Release Date: March 19 2013
  • ASIN: B00AADADVI

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Amazon.com: 13 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Still Life Near the Heart of THE BIG PICTURE March 19 2013
By E. Lee Zimmerman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
We've all experienced the desire to disappear. For whatever reason, we've entertained the idea of simply pulling up our stakes, packing it in, and vanishing from the face of the Earth or, more likely, those we know so well. No, that doesn't mean that we don't love them; nor does it even possibly imply we've done anything wrong. Life wears us down, and, occasionally, we long for escape. This reality only underscores the very human desire to sometimes merely assume a completely anonymous existence - one devoid of greater meaning or purpose - all with the hope of `fitting in' brand new.

However, if we had a legitimate reason to withdraw from the society of which we're a participant, there's certain a `right way' and a `wrong way' to go about it. What's chiefly on display in THE BIG PICTURE is a life lesson about the lesser risks and greater dangers of doing it without adequate preparation.

(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and character. If you're the kind of person who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I'd encourage you to skip down to the last two paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you're accepting of a few modest hints at `things to come,' then read on ...)

Paul Exben (played convincingly by Romain Duris) is a successful Parisian lawyer who's "living the dream" (or so he thought); his wife Sarah (Marina Foïs) and their two children have only started to wear on his real-world sensibilities, and his boss Anne (the lovely Catherine Deneuve, in too short an appearance) is about to retire from the business for medical reasons that would leave him completely in charge of the firm. However, Paul senses something isn't quite right at home. Realizing his wife is having an affair with their neighbor Greg - a photojournalist with a carefree, unpredictable lifestyle - the lawyer confronts the man. After Paul accidentally kills him, he assumes his identity and completely vanishes. The question remains: can he become someone new, or will he be forever haunted by his true past?

Based on a novel by Douglas Kennedy, THE BIG PICTURE is a lean and muscular exploration of the psychological dangers of creating a new identity, especially one tied to closely to elements of one's concealed biography. In reality, Paul ends up living two lives simultaneously - the one he's suppressing (his own) as well as the one he's stolen (Greg's). The script smartly achieves a balance between truth and deceit when it becomes clear that circumstances are spiraling out of control despite the man's best efforts to keep them `under his thumb,' and, if he's not careful, Paul will ruin not only his own life but also those he comes into contact with forever.

Also, there's a brilliant visual metaphor at the heart of PICTURE, and that's the fact that both Paul and Greg shared a singular fascination: photography. Whereas Greg's passions we never anything special, it's established fairly early on that Paul has great talent - a true eye for detail - and it's this personal obsession that drives him closer and closer to the brink of ruin. As we all know, a single picture is worth a thousand words; pictures tell stories - not only those of the photographer and his (or her) subjects, but also, due to the nature that photos are highly interpretive as art, they inspire tales of the viewers. Therein lies the beauty of having our narrator in peril: he spends much of the second half of this picture snapping candid photos of people in real-life situations, all the while desperately trying to conceal the truth of his own.

As you may guess, this hobby ends up playing into Paul's unraveling, so much so that he finds himself on the run once more, this time facing even greater peril. Odds are, PICTURE may not go where you expected, but, once it arrives, it still presents a sight to behold. It's filled with some nice performances - even from its lesser players - as a modern-day fairy tale reminding us to think twice before we leap.

THE BIG PICTURE is produced by Europa Corp., TF1 Films Production, CiBy 2000, Canal+, CineCinema, and Cofinova 6. DVD distribution (stateside) is being handled through MPI Pictures. For those of you needing to know, this is a French-language picture with English-subtitles; if foreign films are not always to your tastes, I'd still give this one a spin if it interests you as the second half of the flick has a great amount of English-spoken scenes (won't spoil it more than that). As for the technical specifications, the film looks and sounds tremendous. Additionally, I'd be remiss in my duties if I didn't mention that the film was nominated for the `Best Adapted Screenplay' Award at the 2011 Cesar Awards (France). Lastly - as is often the case with imports - there are no special features to speak of.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Much of THE BIG PICTURE plays out relatively slowly. Paul's story - the state of his personal and professional affairs - takes some time to establish in the first half. Some might call it slow; I prefer to call it `reflective' and `French.' But, once the stakes are raised, it's clear that he's only one option left: run. He does the unimaginable - he abandons a cherished existence, even one that'll require some re-invention, all in favor of salvaging what's left of his family and hoping to start anew elsewhere. The problem remains that who we are is never quite far from how we live, and there's risk waiting for him around every corner.

In the interests of fairness, I'm pleased to disclose that the fine folks at MPI Home Video provided me with an advance DVD screener copy of THE BIG PICTURE by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
French tale of Passion, Betrayal, Jealousy and Photography March 31 2013
By Tommy Dooley - Published on Amazon.com
Paul Exben (Roman Duris) has it all, a lovely wife, great job, bags of cash, great home and yet he seems a bit insecure. Catherine Deneuve plays his boss Anne, she has a terminal illness and is about to leave her controlling share in the company to him. So he is about to gain even more albeit with the loss of a caring friend.

He loves his two children and put on acts of capriciousness to endear him to them, which seems to have the opposite effect on his wife. Then he starts to notice subtle changes in his wife's behaviour; Sarah (Maria Fois) seems to be on a short fuse when ever he is around and more relaxed around a certain other man. This man is a jobbing photographer Gregoire; Paul is a rich amateur who had once held ambitions of being a good photographer himself once upon a time.

Then her sudden new taste for New Zealand `Cloudy Bay' and long lunch engagement gets him more suspicious. Things come to a head at a dinner party where one sauvignon blanc too many leads him to act the oaf. The following day spur of the moment decision start a series of events that even `The A Team' would be hard pushed to put right.

This is a well crafted drama with an under lying current of tension that lends more to a thriller than a life tale. The ever presence of photography runs through out and acts like a thread tying all the disparate parts of the story together.

It is beautifully shot too, with some almost iconic shots and great use of scenery and space. The acting is all well above average and Roman Duris does a particularly good performance. Director Eric Lartigan has made a beautifully filmed, challengingly framed and original piece of cinema. Some may find the plot a bit of a stretch, but it is dealing with a situation that few people would ever find them selves in and I found it very entertaining.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Twisty French Character Drama Whose Major Surprises Are Revealed In Its Marketing: The Less You Know, The Better March 20 2013
By K. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Truthfully, I would watch Romain Duris in just about anything. When you add the great Catherine Deneuve and promise me a twisty thriller, I'm in absolute heaven. Once again, though, I've been fooled by the marketing of the French film "The Big Picture." The movie certainly employs elements that might effectively be utilized in a thriller, but suspense is not the primary aim of the film's screenplay. The critical blurbs reference both Patricia Highsmith (for obvious reasons that I won't discuss in any depth) and Alfred Hitchcock, and perhaps the first half of the movie steers you in that direction. But the principle themes developed in the more languid second half (a huge stretch of the movie is virtually wordless) are more in line with an introspective character study. When situations force Duris to embrace a new path in life, he comes to understand just what was lacking in the past. It's an interesting notion, handled quite well.

Duris plays a successful lawyer with a seemingly perfect life. He has wealth, high profile clients, a business partner who wants to put him in charge, two cute kids, and a supportive wife. To all appearances, he is living the dream. But the veneer of normalcy and happiness starts to crumble when he becomes suspicious that his wife is discontent. Even as he struggles to rebuild intimacy, he doesn't want to face the evidence in front of him. When unexpected tragedy strikes, however, he is thrust headfirst into a nightmare from which there may be no escape. But a careful plan sets him on a new course. And in the least likely way, he will begin to understand just what is important in life and learn to become the man he was meant to be. But his grasp on this new realization is tenuous as well. Can he hold on? And should he?

Duris, all shaggy hair and sullen looks, is terrific here. The movie is basically divided into two distinct sections with different demands, and Duris balances the needs of each part perfectly. Deneuve, however, doesn't have much to do in a cameo as Duris' boss and friend. If you don't come to "The Big Picture" expecting nail biting suspense, mystery and action--there is a lot to recommend the film. My suggestion, though, is NOT to read the movie's description or any of the Blu-ray/DVD case. They give away all the film's major surprises. "The Big Picture" should best be appreciated by letting it unfold at its own pace, with little to no expectations. It has some pivotal moments and plot points that are completely ruined by its own marketing. KGHarris, 3/13.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not Bad but Weak, and I've Seen This Plot Too Many Times Before. May 16 2013
By mirasreviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
"The Big Picture" ("L'homme qui voulait vivre sa vie") is a French adaptation of the book by American novelist Douglas Kennedy. Paul Exben (Romain Duris) is a high-priced Parisian lawyer married to Sarah (Marina Foïs), with two young children and a posh home in the suburbs. Paul gave up his passion, photography, to make money in the family law firm, now owned primarily by Anne (Catherine Deneuve), a friend of his deceased parents. But Anne has given Paul some bad news, and Sarah is increasingly disinterested in her husband since he adopted a pragmatic approach to life. Just as Paul tries to rekindle their stale relationship, he suspects that Sarah may be having an affair with a local photographer Grégoire Kremer (Eric Ruf). When an accident changes everything, Paul decides to pursue a new life, reluctantly but also with a sense of recapturing the freedom he lost.

There isn't anything particularly bad about "The Big Picture". There just isn't anything interesting either. I've seen this plot too many times before. I had a sense of déja vu while watching it. There is a twist toward the end, but the writers drop the ball and cop out on the ending. The situation with Anne feels contrived and is superfluous to the story. I didn't buy the hotshot lawyer with a permanent 5 o'clock shadow and responsibilities that seem limited to babysitting a trust fund baby with a video game addiction. As for the main plot points, the film tries too hard to make petty problems out to be serious existential crises. One might argue that Paul has real problems after the accident, but not before. Mostly it's just predictable and mediocre. Mostly in French with optional English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles. The MPI 2013 DVD includes a theatrical trailer (2 min).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
How far would you go to hide who you are? May 31 2013
By ualtigger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I bought this movie exclusively on trailers that I saw of it. It has turned out to be far, far more than I expected and also introduced me to another French actor who I will be looking to see more of.

An affair, by Paul's wife, is the catalyst for what is to come: a jealous rage, that turns into murder, which breaks up a family and plunges him into a life of lies and hiding. His talent as a photographer, which he had put on the back burner for more job security (being a lawyer in Paris), is forced out into the open as a man in hiding. It is heartbreaking to see him leave his children behind, not wanting them to grow up being known as the sons of a murderer. He fakes his own death trying to close that life he left.

But his talent is undeniable... and he finds himself in a impossible situation when the man he befriends causes his photographs to be seen by a gallery owner. She recognizes his talent and does a show for him... with one alarming problem: people want to SEE the photographer. Knowing he cannot do that, he is forced to flee again and books passage on a cargo ship. When he witnesses a cruel incident aboard ship, and takes the pictures to document everything, he is thrown overboard, in the middle of the ocean, along with the stowaways. His life and one of the stowaways is saved by a member of the crew, who, unwilling to let him drown, throws a life raft overboard. When they reach land, he sends the surviving man into town with his film & he takes the pictures to a local news agency... thus bringing light to what happened to them... and what became of so many others.

While he deserves to be punished for the crime he committed, I feel, even though he is still in hiding, he has earned the right to a new life.


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