There are sometimes in life where you just need a film to work as a stress buster for you. Something that does not play with your brain a lot or with deep social commentary. Sometimes you just need a film which is dumb and brainless to have some change of taste and some cheap laughs. Well, that is how Adam Sandler has made a career for himself at least. Antonin Peretjatko’s Struggle for Life (French: La Loi de la Jungle) is one such film which falls into that category.
The film is Peretjatko’s second feature film which stars Vincent Macaigne, Vimala Pons, and Mathieu Amalric among others. Struggle for Life depicts the story of Marc Chataigne, an intern for Ministry of Standards in France, who gets assigned as an intern in Guinea to check and maintain the standards for an ice skating rink project named Guia Snow, the first of its kind in the Amazonia. Marc is really unlucky and everything that can go wrong does go wrong with him right from the very beginning.
Marc Chataigne (Vincent Macaigne) comes late to an internship interview for the Ministry of Standards and gets assigned to Guinea out of all places to work on Guia Snow, an international venture between the French government and multiple other organizations. Pretty soon, his house is destroyed by a tax bailiff mistaking him for a tax evader with the same name as him. Marc is serious about uplifting the standards of the work at Guia Snow, but he fails to realize that everyone associated with the project is all talk, and they are least interested in the actual work, or even if they are, their varied opinions are supposedly coming in way of Guia Snow’s construction.
The Minister of Standards has various ideas about getting funding for the project, without a care for the national debt, while Galgaric (Mathieu Amalric), the on-site project manager, has more ideas about maintaining the perfect temperature in his room than he has about constructing Guia Snow. He finds another intern, Tarzan (Vimala Pons) working there as a driver, although she came to work for the National Forest Office. Marc and Tarzan are met with a road accident on their way back from inspection and the two are confronted with several dangers.
Struggle for Life never shies away from the fact that its dumb and actually uses it in its favour. The most random things happen at multiple points in the film and you would burst into laughter, rather than pointing out the impossibility of the scene. You know what you are signing up for within the first few minutes of the film itself. I was often reminded of a similar Hollywood movie I saw last year, the Samuel L Jackson and Ryan Reynolds starrer The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which I enjoyed immensely although the movie was extremely dumb.
The film though is excellently shot through and through with skillful camera work depicting the duo’s journey through a dense jungle, which constitutes the major part of the film. The editing team must also be credited for aiding the humor quotient of the film through their work. The characters are written in a manner that they are very active and the dialogue throw is extremely fast, something I found very humorous. The characters are always in a rush or very excited whenever they are speaking, so even the absolute gibberish made me laugh when spoken in that fashion throughout the film.
Vincent Macaigne does a good job of playing the shy and serious protagonist, rightfully aided by the extremely beautiful Vimala Pons. I was surprised to see Mathieu Amalric in this film and the veteran actor doesn’t disappoint with his comparatively smaller role of Galgaric, the lead of the project in Guinea. Amalric is extremely versatile, which he proves again with his role in the film.
Struggle for Life probably asks you not to be extremely serious about your work and slow down a bit, at least that’s what I took away from it. The film is filled with relatable characters, especially the people who are always on a high horse, but are not up to the task when asked to back up their big talk with action. It is strictly a one time watch, but it is a fun one time watch at that.
Last but not the least, you may not want to talk about eating up Indians when you visit Guinea.
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An aspiring programmer by passion, Tuhin is a serial procrastinator and is occupied with three M’s – Movies, Music and Manchester United. He is obsessed with the use of colour in films, something he pours out more often than not on his Facebook page.