Question humaine, La, (Heartbeat Detector) (2007) - Rotten Tomatoes

Question humaine, La, (Heartbeat Detector) (2007)



Critic Consensus: Gripping and provocative psychological thriller about corporate responsibility remains tense throughout and despite its long running time.

Question humaine, La, (Heartbeat Detector) Photos

Movie Info

As a Parisian petrochemical company forges on into the 21st century, the in-house human resources psychologist leads a probe that proves the ghosts of the previous century still hold sway over current events in director Nicolas Klotz's labyrinthine drama. Simon (Mathieu Amalric) is a human resources worker who has spent the last seven years working at the Paris branch of a powerful German-based company called SC Farb. In addition to assessing the hiring and firing practices of the company, Simon was also charged with the task of conducting motivational workshops. When Assistant Director Karl Rose (Jean-Pierre Kalfon) implores Simon to conduct a clandestine assessment of firm director Mathias Jüst's (Michael Lonsdale) mental health after rumors of erratic behavior begin to circulate in the German head office, the shrewd human resources worker forms a factory orchestra as a means of stealthily gauging the stability of his violin-playing subject. Later, a comprehensive investigation of company archives and anonymous letters begin to snake ominously back in time to the darkest days of World War II.
Art House & International , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
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Written By:
In Theaters:
New Yorker

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Mathieu Amalric
as Simon Kessler
Michael Lonsdale
as Mathias Just
Valerie Dreville
as Lynn Sanderson
Lou Castel
as Arie Neumann
Edith Scob
as Lucy Just
Rémy Carpentier
as Jacques Paolini
Nicolas Maury
as Tavera
Erwan Ribard
as Miguel
Miguel Poveda
as Flamenco Singer
Louis Aguetant
as Fado Singer
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News & Interviews for Question humaine, La, (Heartbeat Detector)

Critic Reviews for Question humaine, La, (Heartbeat Detector)

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (11)

Heartbeat Detector works on so many levels at once that its power is difficult to capture.

Full Review… | July 9, 2008
Top Critic

As driven by linguistics and euphemism as this film is, it's also a slippery and wonderfully acted drama%u2014Michael Clayton with a far more troubling moral landscape.

July 3, 2008
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Though it is in part a stinging commentary on the soullessness of the corporate suit, Nicolas Klotz's film is extremely slow to get on track.

Full Review… | March 21, 2008
New York Post
Top Critic

Heartbeat Detector earns its points, arriving at a potent conclusion with a stealth and meticulousness that knocks the wind out of you.

March 21, 2008
Top Critic

Klotz walks a perilous tightrope between profundity and pretension without ever tipping into the chasm.

Full Review… | March 19, 2008
Village Voice
Top Critic

Intriguing, frustrating, exasperating -- the French film Heartbeat Detector succeeds best as a provocation.

March 14, 2008
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Question humaine, La, (Heartbeat Detector)

The human "question", or the human "issue", though slightly self-indulgent, pierces the heart with melancholic poetry and washed out photography. It points to the elephant in the room: the coldness of the monster inside all of us. Not for people in denial of the human condition.

Roni Fraser
Roni Fraser

one of my favourite things is to watch a film like this one without any idea what it is and this french drama doesn't disappoint.

Greg Wood
Greg Wood

It's easy to paint all of nazi germany as sadistic monsters, ripping the heads off of babies and throwing them into ovens, but the truth is a little more disturbing. We must rationalize and demonize in order to cope with the fact that some of these monsters, these murderers, were little more than bureaucrats performing a grotesque but necessary function in order to make society a "better" place. While nazism had roots in mysticism and the occult, it also arose out of intellectual pursuits in genetics and socialism. The purpose of weeding out "inferior" gene pools of the jews, mentally ill, gypsies, etc. was to make the human race as a whole more strong. In this society, the individual was unimportant, only the propagation of the species. The idea that some of us are the "master race" while others are a "sub-species", while primitive pseudo-science, could be swallowed by a lot of people with the right motivators in place (and a master orator like Hitler to feed it to them). It's not enough, especially in hindsight, to recognize something as evil, whether it be a movement or idea, we have to understand how evil rises out of something benign. "Heartbeat Detector" (also known as " La question humaine") centers around a corporate psychologist who, while extremely efficient in stream-lining the corporation, has suddenly found himself surrounded by executives with nazi connections. Granted, firing someone from a job is in no way equivilent to murdering them in a holocaust, but the methods and terminology of the business world are eerily similar to that of the nazis. Referring to men as numbers, it's easier to terminate them if they can be somehow dehumanized. Is there something intrinsically evil in trying to increase the "greater good" by eliminating the lesser and weaker members of an organization? Maybe Heartbeat Detector tries to make that connection, but one can always get another job if one is fired from a business for issues one has created for oneself. Being fired for being lazy isn't the same as being murdered for being born the wrong religion or race. It is an intriguing concept, however. Heartbeat detector is an interesting, thought-provoking film that challenges the notion of innocence or guilt when it comes to committing evil deeds.

Devon Bott
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

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