A great cure for the post holiday blues is to see a film from the country you’ve just left. For me this was watching the French Film- Dr Knock. This film was shown here earlier this year as part of the French Film Festival. Doctor Knock has been adapted from a well loved French play from the 1920’s. Here director- Lorraine Levy turns this comedy on its head both racially and generationally. It stars one of my favourites – Omar Sy as Dr Knock. You might have seen Omar in last year’s Monsieur Chocolat. He has also starred in the French Jurassic Park and Intouchables. Once again Omar’s talent shines as he lights up the screen in every scene. This movie made me laugh, cry and everything in between.
Knock is a conman from Marseilles who manages to escape his debtors by jumping on a ship and becoming the ship’s (unqualified)doctor. Five years later we see the dapper Knock with a shiny new medical degree and a posting in the idyllic village of Saint Maurice, whose hale and hearty inhabitants have previously been administered to by one, Dr Parpalaid. Dr Parpalaid prescribes herbal tea and rest to his patients, much to the annoyance of the town’s pharmacist whose business is failing.
Enter Dr Knock whose conman skills come to the fore when he uses the simple rules of supply and demand to create ‘ a method ‘ which he believes will make himself and the pharmacist rich. The method entails persuading the villagers that healthy people are simply people who don’t realise they are ill. To do this he needs to find an illness -either real or imaginary- that afflicts each person. His plans are derailed by two things – the arrival of a dubious character from his past and his romantic feelings for the luminous, petite Adele.
This 1950’s style adaptation of the well loved Jules Romains play has more of a feel good take than the darker original but the charismatic leading man, slapstick humour and sweet romance ultimately won me over. Knock’s efforts eventually benefit the entire village where the doctor becomes a well – loved part of the community despite his dubious intentions.
Mega star Omar Sy as Dr Knock is a huge screen presence both in size and personality. You can easily see why the villagers fall for his plan. The perfect foil is his love interest petite Adele played by the beautiful Ana Giradot.
The ensemble cast plays up the humour for obvious laughs with standouts being the suspicious priest, played deftly by comedian, Alex Lutz, as Lupus. Desperate housewife- Mme Mousquet who falls for Dr Knock gives a fun performance. Whilst the town drunk and postman played by Christian Hecq adds a touch of Charlie Chaplin slapstick with his role.
This film will take you from Marseilles to the sea and then have you sighing at the gorgeous village scenery of Saint Maurice. So if you’re looking for something different to chase away those post holiday blues head along to Dr Knock.The film was released in Europe in October 2017 and will be screening around Australia from August 2.