Mickael (Vincent Macaigne was nominated for French Actor of the Year) is the “night doctor”. This doctor only works night shifts, and I don’t know if there is a practice similar to the one he does. He doesn’t even work in the hospital, he doesn’t even have his own office, but he visits patients in Paris at night. It is a stressful and not at all comfortable life, and Mickael’s main patients are addicts to whom he prescribes prescriptions for subotexes and similar substitutes, which is why he will find himself in trouble. It quickly became clear to us why. He shares prescription drugs with his fist and hat as he tries to help his cousin Dimitri (Pio Marmai), a pharmacy owner who has gotten into debt and linked to the mob.
Mickael is also in a marital crisis as his wife Sacha is also dissatisfied with his lifestyle, constant absences, delays and unreliability. She doesn’t know that Mickael is in a secret relationship with Dimitri’s fiancée Sofia (Sara Giraudeau), and in this exciting neo-Neir thriller by Elie Wajeman we follow one day in the life of a doctor. And probably the worst day (and night) in Mickael’s life because in those 24 hours everything bad that can happen will pile up, and the already bad situation will start to fall apart.
“Medecin de nuit” or “The Night Doctor” was supposed to be one of the films from the canceled Cannes 2020 competition program, and in this extremely dynamic and tense thriller of deadly pace we will also get to know the dark hemisphere of Paris. Right from the start it is clear to us that Mickael is in a gray area and that what he is doing is not exactly legal, and we quickly realize that he is one of those guys who wants and tries to help others even at his own expense. Of course, he is also a man haunted by his own inner demons, a man who could seemingly have a tidy and orderly life, but the side road he obviously once took turned him in a direction from which there seems to be no way out.
Stylistically and visually, “Medecin de nuit” seems to have been influenced by American films with similar themes, following in Scorsese’s “Mean Streets” or Ferrari’s cult “Bad Lieutenant”, but with a significant difference because Mickael is not a moral freak like Keitel’s LT. . A man who is no longer saved and who has violated probably all human and natural laws. Mickael acts as a good, honest and just man who can very well distinguish good from evil, and his naivety, kindness and desire to help others will lead him to problems. Here, Wajeman managed to balance naturalism almost on the trail of documentary when depicting Mickael’s daily life, patient visits, night city cruises and encounters with various types, and genre fictionalization of the situations in which his work brought him. Rating 7.5 / 10.
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