The twists are plentiful and the humor jet black in “Welcome to the Rozes,” a delectably sardonic first film by scripter-helmer Francis Palluau. Two young, soft-boiled escaped convicts take a breather in an ultra-bourgeois home, prompting unpredictable consequences. Modest but effective comedy is nicely played and doesn’t tip its hand too soon. Producer Charles Gassot made out tidily with two other recent first films, “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not” and “If I Were a Rich Man,” and encouraging local biz seems likely here, with a soupcon of remake potential.
Having escaped during a prison transfer, leaving two dead in their wake, Gilbert (Lorant Deutsch) and MG (Jean Dujardin) take refuge in the suburban home of wine merchant Daniel Roze (Andre Wilms) and his wife, Beatrice (Carole Bouquet). The two are planning to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary this very day. The couple’s 18-year-old daughter, budding ballerina Magali (Clemence Posey), is also in the house, macaroons are in the oven and something jovially sinister is in the air.
Gilbert, bleeding from a gunshot wound, and MG take their involuntary hosts hostage. However, the Rozes are suspiciously happy to comply, even offering their captors tips. It’s as if, instead of being frightened, Grandma couldn’t wait for the Big Bad Wolf to infiltrate her cottage.
MG just wants to hide out long enough to collect his share of a heist nine years prior. But bodies start to pile up.
Bouquet’s patrician beauty is ideal for her turn as an apparently model wife and mother. Other thesps inhabit their roles convincingly. Posey pulls off a memorable topless scene with panache.
Romain Winding’s lensing, which keeps things moving at a suitable clip, subtly demarcates the way things look to the criminals vs. the visual universe of the Rozes. Device of four humming, middle-aged hikers popping up like a stylized Greek chorus isn’t completely successful but doesn’t detract from the solidly scripted, offbeat romp. Peppy score provides an amusingly ironic counterpoint to the unnerving goings-on.