With a friend like Harry, you're
either hallucinating, a very creative and involved writer, or
in big trouble. Basic plot: Michael is on a road
trip with his wife and three young daughters, who are crazy
from the heat. In a rest-stop bathroom, he runs into an
old schoolmate, Harry. Harry and his girlfriend decide
to join Michael's family at their fixer-upper house,
uninvited, instead of continuing to Switzerland (they are in
France). Harry proceeds to do everything he can to make
Michael's life better; he can do a lot, including murder.
The movie is creepy and the
performances are all good and believable. You can take
it all at face value and watch a story about a killer and his
victims. Maybe a stalker, too. Harry knows a
frightening amount of information about Michael. Or you
can think a little more deeply. Is Harry even real?
Is he a figment of Michael's imagination? An alter-ego?
Is Michael a writer who is weaving Harry's tale for amusement?
Where does Harry's girlfriend fit in?
This film is different from most
American films, more picturesque and yet less showy, and
fittingly so as it is foreign. It has been said that
"With A Friend Like Harry" is an homage to Hitchcock.
There is certainly a Hitchcockian element: much depends
on the mood, the viewer is not sure exactly what is going on,
and it is a character-based suspense film. It could be
studied in a film class, much as Hitchcock's work is.
Every detail seems to be thought out. A lot of Harry's
scenes are in the kitchen, and a few scenes are repetitive.
The difference between this and Hitchcock seems to be that
Hitch would usually round things off a bit more at the end.
Where Hitch leaves you thinking "wow, that was scary.
what a frighteningly messed-up character" or "wow,
good plot twists," WAFLH leaves you thinking, "wow,
that was neat. but what was really going on?"
WAFLH certainly leaves the viewer
satisfied with its experience, and offers up some brain food
in the method of catch-me-if-you-can.
( 3 1/2 pops out of 4 pops )
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