In the Beginning
written and directed by Xavier Giannoli
starring Francois Cluzet
In the Beginning tells the story of a con-man who persuades the members of a small French provincial town afflicted by industrial blight to restart an abandoned road project; things fall apart when he unwittingly becomes enmeshed in his own deceptions. One of the film's strengths is its complexity of tone, keeping in balance the comedy of hoodwinking and the pathos of the hoodwinked.
In the Beginning presents an ironic vision of contemporary capitalism, dramatizing Marx's insight that capital is (merely) a social relation, a composite of fictions. The film is held together by Cluzet's effective performance, although he is given first-rate support by an impressive ensemble, including Emmanuelle Devos and Gerard Depardieu.
Economically shot and briskly edited, the movie was screened in a decent transfer from a digital format, but would have looked better shown on video.