Two Days, One Night
Two Days, One NightOriginal Title: Deux jours, une nuit
Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Belgium, France, Italy | French, Arabic
The directors of Rosetta and La Promesse return with this contemporary thriller that takes its suspense not from the hunt for a murderer or the intrigues of global superspies, but rather from the far more human—and riveting—task of simply trying to keep one’s job and dignity.
Hoping to return to work after a mental health leave, the tired Sandra (Marion Cotillard, La vie en rose; Midnight in Paris) receives an unwelcome phone call. Possibly strong-armed by higher-ups, her coworkers were “given' the unwanted choice between a 1,000 euro bonus or eliminating her job, and chose the bonus. Now Sandra only has the weekend to talk to each coworker and plead with them to change their minds. Some want to help a fellow worker (and human being), others just want the money, but all have their own worries about getting by in a crumbling economy.
Through two days and one night, the Dardenne Brothers chart a path through one woman’s search for respect and human community, and through the social and economic realms of today’s working-class, where one day it may be your coworker’s job under threat, and the next day yours. The Dardenne’s handheld, ever-on-the-move aesthetic gives this work the pacing and suspense of any Bourne Identity thriller, while as Sandra, Cotillard delivers perhaps her most powerful, subtle performance.