The partnership of two architects develops small cracks that reveal structural flaws in “Cravate Club.” Nicely played bigscreen adaptation of recent Moliere-winning play thoughtfully and fluidly expands into highly visual territory. However, the increasingly dark dissection of a dissolving friendship remains theatrical in its two-handed dialogue and stagy conclusion. Still, fests will find this neckwear a nice fit.
Pic opens as husband and father Bernard (Charles Berling), whose firm has just landed a big contract, learns his biz partner and closest pal, Adrien (Edouard Baer), will not be attending his 40th birthday party that night. Adrien is 37 and a footloose bachelor, and the date clashes with his monthly club dinner: Miss a single get-together of that and you’re banished from membership. Bernard is doubly wounded to learn Adrien belongs to a secret club and that he’s never proposed Bernard as a candidate. From this nagging oversight evolves a ballet of jealousy, rivalry and obsession which both men perpetuate as the delicate balance of their longstanding friendship veers into a slash-and-burn duel, with cruel results. Nicolas Errera’s mostly syncopated score is excellent, as are thesps, reprising their stage roles.