Lisa (Diane Kruger) and Julien (Vincent Lindon) are a normal happily married couple with a young son. Julien is a teacher and has a difficult relationship with his farther and Lisa doesn’t get on with her boss, all normal occurrences for a normal couple in the real world. Then one day their life is shattered when Lisa is arrested for a violent murder. Sentenced to twenty years they appeal against the conviction but when it fails after three years and no legal avenue is left open to them Julien takes matters into his own hands. As an ordinary person with no criminal background he does not know where to start. The bulk of the film is made up of him slowly and carefully planning. First he interviews a man who has written a book about escaping from prison. Then he sets about getting fake passports (surprisingly easily) then he plots the breakout and where to go after that. All this whist trying to live a normal family life raising the couples young son Oscar (Lancelot Roch) and continuing in his teaching job.
The film unfolds slowly until the last third where the pace picks up as Julian makes the final preparations for the breakout. With over the top prison breaks such as on the television show Prison Break this film is refreshingly simple and believable mainly because of the setting of ordinary people put into a difficult situation reminiscent of the film Tell No One (coincidently directed by Diane Kruger‘s ex-husband Guilaume Canet). As you would expect Julian makes mistakes along the way, this adds to the believability and the emotional involvement with the characters. The settings and photography are suitably dull grey and downbeat giving a slightly oppressed feeling to the film that is lifted by great acting from the leading couple.
A flashback clearly establishes Lisa’s innocence or guilt, this is a shame as some ambiguity could have added an extra element to the plot but that is a minor criticism. One final thing to point out the film is French and is shown with subtitles; I hope that doesn’t put people of seeing this interesting little film.