Toto the Hero

Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: Jaco Van Dormael

REVIEWED: 07-08-97

Michel Bouquet, Mireille Perrier, Pascal Duquenne, Didier Ferney

"Nothing ever happened in this guy's story," portends the opening of this French treasure, but don't you believe it. A stunning tale that combines mystery, fantasy, drama, action, comedy, and a little bit of everything else, Toto The Hero (Toto le Hero) is one of those films that's kept me coming back again and again, because I get a little more out of it with every viewing. The plot revolves around Thomas (Bouquet, as an adult), a simple man who is convinced that he was switched at birth with neighbor Louis (Ferney), the kid who had it all, and the story sweeps us from Thomas' days in the crib to his ultimate revenge on Alfred as an old man. Brilliantly constructed, the film tracks Thomas at three different ages (plus additional sidetracking) á la Slaughterhouse Five, so it requires a bit of effort on the viewer's part to keep up with the plot, not to mention the subtitles. While van Dormael and Duquenne worked together again recently on the critically disregarded The Eighth Day, Toto already has the makings of a long-term classic, and should simply not be missed.

--Christopher Null

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The Bicycle Thief

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