Unemployment is an important issue throughout the world, particularly in South Australia. The Measure of a Man highlights one man’s journey through unemployment and the dilemma of having to find a job when you are frankly too old and do not have the right experience to move on.
At the age of 51 and after 20 months on unemployment, dashed hopes and constant rejection in his search for work, Thierry starts a new job as a security guard at a big-box supermarket. He is forced into situations where he must make decisions that go against everything he believes, which bring him face to face with a moral dilemma. How much is he willing to accept to keep his job?
The film belongs to Vincent Lindon who portrays Thierry Taugourdeau with great compassion and intensity. He is pathetic in the truest sense of the world as he swallows his pride, faces endless rejections and a scathing critique of his interview style.
Add to this a son who is intellectually disabled, and you have a man that will do almost anything for financial security. Lindon’s facial expressions portray patience, despair and compassion in a masterful performance!
Director Stephane Brize, has kept the film real. Every character in the film is well drawn and elicits sympathy for their plight whether as an aggressor or a victim.
Two scenes are particularly memorable, both include employees of the supermarket in which Taugoureau is the security guard. They are caught cheating the company, either by using discount coupons or loyalty cards and Taurourgeau has to help decide their fate. We watch while he is torn between doing his job or showing compassion.
Some of the scenes are hard to watch – he has to force an old man (who cannot afford it) to either pay for the goods he has stolen or go to gaol.
As a person gainfully employed, I cannot help but think that Taurourgeau could be me but for the grace of God. It is heartrending.
As a film that is almost a reality show it triumphs both in execution and emotion. A great film, but not for the handkerchief grabbers.
Reviewed by Barry Hill
Rating out of 10: 9