You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Toronto Film Review: ‘The Price of Success’

In Teddi Lussi-Modeste's cliched take on fame, Tahar Rahim plays a famous comedian subverted by his most trusted adviser — his brother.

Teddi Lussi-Modeste
Tahar Rahim, Roschdy Zem, Maiwenn, Gregoire Colin.

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6194540/

While it’s generally not essential for a film about a successful creative character to get their job right, there’s something conspicuous about the hottest stand-up comedian in France never once saying anything funny. In “The Price of Success,” a a cliche-larded drama about celebrity malaise, Tahar Rahim, best known for his galvanizing turn in “A Prophet,” stars as a blockbuster comic who sells out arenas but seems incapable of making people laugh. It doesn’t help that the film bears so much similarity to Chris Rock’s “Top Five,” a funny drama by and about one of the world’s premier stand-ups. The absence of humor here feeds into the perversive inauthenticity that dogs the action. Rahim remains a magnetic leading man, but original insights into fame, family and ethnic identity are few and far between.

In his second feature, co-writer/director Teddy Lussi-Modeste (“Jimmy Riviere”) plays up the carnival-of-life craziness that engulfs a French comedian of North African origin at a crucial point in his career. For the mono-monikered Brahim (Rahim), life at the top has earned him a luxurious apartment, endorsements and movie deals, as well as a beautiful girlfriend, Linda (Maiwenn), who’s eager to help him move to the next level. But the demands of his fan base and his family are wearing him down, and a recent series of bad headlines and management decisions have left him spinning his wheels and worrying about the future. He starts to blame his tempestuous brother, Mourad (Roschdy Zem), who has served as his agent, manager, bodyguard and sounding board from the very beginning.

When Brahim was a young talent on the rise, Mourad was his loyal and aggressive advocate, but lately his brother has been throwing  impromptu rowdy parties at his apartment, picking fights with adversaries and signing him to commercials and other projects that aren’t worthy of his superstar status. On top of that, Mourad has been treating Linda as more of a threat than a partner in steering Brahim’s career — and a more polished agent, Herve (Gregoire Colin), has swooped into his life, promising new opportunities and a steadier hand. The inevitable rift between Brahim and Mourad has a terrible fallout for both men and leaves Brahim without the family that’s always been his base of support. Moreover, Brahim’s identity as an Arab star seems in danger of eroding, too.

Though surrounded by more internationally recognized castmates, Zem gives the film’s standout performance as a fiercely dedicated but petty and genuinely dangerous presence in his brother’s life. Mourad is partly responsible for the toxicity that’s seeped into the relationship, but he’s also sunk by personality traits that served Brahim well at one point in his career but hang on him like an albatross now. Mourad is the only complex character in “The Price of Success” — given to deplorable behavior, like his casual misogyny toward Linda, and redeeming qualities, too, like an almost childlike devotion and vulnerability. For better or worse, Brahim can always count on his brother.

But there are no aspects of Brahim’s life as a celebrity that “The Price of Success” examines with any depth or surprise. A star isolated by fame? A slick agent? A controlling girlfriend who may or may not be a Yoko Ono clone? A family that grows fat on his paychecks but turns on him when it matters? These are all the standard cliches, and while the story takes a few odd lurches into kidnapping and violence, everything gets cleaned up with a tidiness that buffs the movie’s rougher edges. Brahim is working with some tame material, on and off the stage.


Toronto Film Review: 'The Price of Success'

Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Special Presentations), Sept. 8, 2017. Running time: 92 MIN.

Production: A Kazak Prods. production in association with Cofinova 13, Cinemage 11, Soficinema 13 and Indie Invest. (International sales: Indie Sales, Paris.) Producer: Jean-Christophe Reymond. Executive producer: Reymond.

Crew: Director: Teddy Lussi-Modeste. Screenplay: Lussi-Modeste, Rebecca Zlotowski. Camera (color, widescreen): Julien Poupard. Editor: Julien Lacheray. Music: ROB.

With: Tahar Rahim, Roschdy Zem, Maiwenn, Gregoire Colin.

More Film

  • Challenges Still Keep Content From Traveling

    Cannes: Challenges Still Keep Content From Traveling to and From China

    Challenges still remain when it comes to buying, distributing and producing content that can travel between China and the West, attendees of a panel organized by the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival on the sidelines of Cannes said. Cai Gongming, president of Road Pictures, has hit box office gold in China with Cannes art-house titles such [...]

  • 180423_A24_Day_03B_0897.jpg

    Cannes Film Review: Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe in 'The Lighthouse'

    “The Lighthouse,” the second feature directed by Robert Eggers (“The Witch”), is a gripping and turbulent drama that draws on a number of influences, though it merges them into its own fluky gothic historical ominoso art-thriller thing. Set in the 1890s, and suffused with foghorns and epic gusts of wind, as well as a powerfully [...]

  • Cannes: Diao Yinan Explains His Artistic

    Diao Yinan on Cannes Pic 'Wild Goose Lake': 'I Try to Portray the Opposite of a Utopia'

    In competition in Cannes with “Wild Goose Lake,” director Diao Yinan explained Sunday why he’s fascinated by dark crime thrillers – and why his new film features dialogue in China’s Wuhan dialect. “Such thrillers are not only an exercise in style; they’re also full of dramatic tension, and when you combine style with dramatic tension, [...]


    Robert Pattinson, Shailene Woodley Attend Starry Vanity Fair Party in Cannes

    It’s true what they say about Batman being a loner. On Saturday night, Robert Pattinson made his first public appearance since being cast as the new Dark Knight at this year’s Vanity Fair Party in celebration of the Cannes Film Festival. But while all the other A-list guests mingled and worked the crowd at the [...]

  • 180423_A24_Day_03B_0897.jpg

    Robert Pattinson: 'The Lighthouse' Rehearsal Was a 'Pressure Cooker'

    Rehearsal for director Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse” wasn’t as long as Robert Pattinson remembers. “I’ve never rehearsed like I rehearsed with Robert before,” Pattinson said at the first screening of the period thriller on Sunday morning. “We rehearsed for what, three weeks?” Actually, no—it was only one week! “One, but it felt like three to [...]

  • FilmSharks Scores Global Sales, Remake Rights

    FilmSharks Scores Intl. Sales-Remake Rights for Fernando Spiner’s ‘Immortal’

    Guido Rud’s Buenos Aires-based FilmSharks International has acquired global sales and remake rights to renowned Latin American genre director Fernando Spiner’s latest feature “Immortal,” which participated in this year’s Blood Window Showcase at the Cannes Film Market. Included in the deal, FilmSharks also picked up Spiner’s sci-fi catalog which includes “Sleepwalker” and “Adiós querida luna.” [...]

  • Dimitri Vegas

    Dimitri Vegas Talks 'Rambo V: Last Blood' Role, Working With Sylvester Stallone

    Dimitri Thivaios, better known as dance music’s Dimitri Vegas, is taking his skills beyond the DJ booth, picking up a major film role in the forthcoming “Rambo V: Last Blood.” The Belgium-born Thivaios, who headlines massive EDM festivals like Tomorrowland with his brother Michael (they perform under the banner Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike), has [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content