The Big Hit
Based on a true story, Emmanuel Courcol’s comedy drama finds an actor working with convicts on a theatre production, with unexpected results.
Étienne Carboni (Kad Merad) is sure he was meant for something greater in life when the actor takes a job teaching drama to prison inmates. At first, his students show no interest in serious drama, preferring to lark about or do stand-up. But when Étienne introduces them to Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, something changes and the men become increasingly involved in the production. Moreover, the production soon starts to be taken seriously by its audience and, reflecting the film’s title, it becomes a breakout success. The theatre troupe find themselves in demand and are soon given permission to go on tour. It’s at that point that things become interesting for everyone.
Based on events that took place in Sweden in the 1980s, Courcol’s film plays fast and loose with the details to create a knockabout comedy whose depth is derived from the impressive ensemble playing the cons. In particular, the skilled actors’ ability to convince that they are occasionally fumbling amateurs on a lucky streak. It’s their interaction and the events that unfold while they’re on tour that give the film its spark.