Harry, He’s Here To Help (1999)
(aka With A Friend Like Harry)
Director: Dominik Moll
Cast: Sophie Guillemin, Sergi Lopez
Laurent Lucas, Mathilde Seigner
While traveling with his family to visit his parents, Michel (Laurent Lucas) bumps into an old acquaintance from school, Harry (Sergi Lopez), whom he does not remember. Harry is slightly persistent with Michel, until he remembers a couple of slight details about him. Michel’s car has no air conditioning, he and his wife Claire (Mathilde Seigner) are stressed, and his kids are constantly crying and moaning in the heat. Harry’s philosophy is “every problem has its solution”, and he puts this philosophy into action. Harry meets Michel again in the car park, and he offers to drive the kids in his car, following Michel to their country retreat.
Michel eventually agrees to this, and the kids travel in quiet and comfort with Harry and his beautiful girlfriend Plum (Sophie Guillemin), back to the rundown country house that Michel and Claire have been restoring for months. At supper Harry recites a poem which Michel wrote when he was at school, Claire is surprised at this hidden secret of her husbands, and Harry is overtly enthusiastic about Michel’s writing, and tries to convince Michel that he should continue with it. Harry and Plum stay the night.
The next day Harry continues his desire to make Michel happy, by trying to remove as many obstacles from his life as he can, starting with buying him a new car. Soon after Michel’s parents come to visit, as the family had never got to them when they tried to, due to the air conditioning problem. Harry is disgusted by Michel’s parents and the way they treat him, he and Plum drive at full speed away from the farmhouse to the nearest hotel. Later Harry fixes it by killing off Michel’s parents. Expecting him to feel the freedom and new lease of life that he felt after his father died.
It seems that Harry will stop at nothing to try and make Michel happy, and to convince him to take up his writing again. Michel eventually bows to this pressure and starts slowly scribbling away. Harry decides it is time to eliminate every obstacle in their world, starting with the elimination of Plum, and then with intended progression to Claire and the kids. After Michel makes a deal with this devil in getting rid of Plum’s body, he decides to put a stop to the madness of Harry’s philosophy.
Harry’s here to help is similar in content to Strangers On A Train (1951) where the strangers make a deal to kill off each others wives, one thinks this was a joke and does not go through with it, but the other fully intends to. Here there is only one murderer but eventually the devilish Harry ropes Michel into helping him dispose of one of the corpses.
Harry says to Michel that at school Harry was a spoilt brat, this has not really changed much, as is shown by him doing anything he wants, including carrying out several murders, to get his own way. It’s never really put forward but there is also the hint that due to the release of constraint Harry felt after the death of his father, it his more than likely that in typical spoilt brat manner, he has deleted his father from his existence by himself. He moves too easily into the murders of Michel’s family and the people around him, it would be ludicrous to think he had not done so before, and for a more personal and understandable reason than that of Michel’s questionable literary talents.
Harry He’s Here To Help is and interesting black comedy, with four of the newest and youngest actors and actresses in world cinema doing brilliant jobs of the characters here, as they have done equally well in there other films.
Sergi Lopez is handsome and has a commanding screen presence; the character’s mostly quiet persistence early on gives hints that it will at some point give way to homicidal actions later on. Similar in persistence and quietness to Matt Damon’s character in The Talented Mr Ripley (1999), and both, eventually, equally psychotic in their behaviour.
Sophie Guillemin again, as with L’ennui (1998) plays a character that is empty headed and beautiful, and she does this well enough, obviously the beautiful bit is easy, but the empty headed bit is acting. It would be nice to see her play a role where she can be something other than this. Play a character that could not as easily be played by a brick, all be it an attractive brick. I’m not insulting her, geez, I just want someone to give her a role, where she has to, and can do more than just look good.
Review By Giovanni Pistachio. (Giovanni can be contacted at: –
© Owned Giovanni Pistachio.