The Ax

A comedy thriller without many laughs or thrills, this 2005 French feature by Costa-Gavras (Z, Missing), adapted from a Donald E. Westlake novel, follows the machinations of a middle-aged engineer downsized from the paper industry who proceeds to murder all of his likeliest competitors in the job market. Jos Garcia, known for roles more comic than this one, brings a certain intensity to the part, but the story’s satirical possibilities remain largely untapped. Given the overall slickness, I was surprised to see Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (L’Enfant) credited among the coproducers; their signature actor Olivier Gourmet turns up in an effective cameo. In French with subtitles. 122 min. (JR)

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