Chevalier

Director: Athina Rachel Tsangari (2016) BBFC cert

Described by the filmmakers as a buddy movie without the buddies, this black comedy satirises the competitive machismo of modern men.

It’s acutely observed and men everywhere will squirm uncomfortably at with recognition at the petty behaviour.

Six average middle aged blokes are enjoying a fishing trip on a luxury yacht when one suggests a game. The winner will be declared ‘best in general’ with the prize a chevalier signet ring.

They set each other a series of challenges with each man scoring everyone else in a note book. Recipes, ringtones and sexual relationships are all under scrutiny and inevitably there is some pointed measuring of body parts.

The captains’ voice over the tannoy suggests the spirit of reality TV, but also harks back to army camp announcer Radar from M.A.S.H. (1970). Robert Altman’s anti-war satire offered a far more scathing examination of humanity in a regimented environment.

As holiday activities of skinny dipping, jet skiing, wind surfing become areas of conflict, so collusion, cheating and the pleasure place becomes more a floating prison.

Amid the ridiculous and pointless competitiveness, the film offers sympathy for the men who are prisoners to their natures and submit to vice to cope with the pressures of scrutiny and ambition.

@ChrisHunneysett

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