Heartbeat Detector

Director: Nicolas Klotz
Year Released: 2007
Rating: 2.0

A corporation's psychologist (Mathieu Amalric) - who has demons of his own - is ordered to investigate the mental state of a VIP within the company, only to discover there's a connection between the chiefs and - of all things - Nazi Germany. The first hour is actually marvelous, drawing lines between the soul-killing nature of working in the corporate world - I admit to having spent a brief period of time in a cubicle before quitting, frustrated and sickened - and the corporate world's role in weeding out those very people it ruins, not to mention looking at the miserable life of the Amalric character and his 'wild nights' clubbing and guilt from being a crony for the rich and powerful (I was reminded of Houellebecq's first novel, Extension du domaine de la lutte). But then the movie becomes (intentionally) inconclusive, creating an awkward and frankly slapdash parallel between concentration camps and work environments, raising concerns about the treatment of illegal immigrants and failing to tie up any loose ends with Amalric's personal life. There have been intriguing critiques of the dehumanizing power of modern working conditions in several films - like Mike Judge's comical Office Space and the documentary The Corporation - but this is too scatterbrained to be enlightening.