A middle-aged, down-on-his-luck actor, reduced to teaching Maori hakas as part of corporate-bonding exercises, takes a job working with prisoners in a high-security jail. Impressed by the talent and their raw, unconventional energy, he decides to put on a production of Waiting for Godot, in this amiable, French comedy drama, which is based on a true story. Somewhat montage heavy and repetitive initially, the film hits its stride in the unexpected final act. A baggy, slightly defeated-looking Kad Merad is impressive as drama teacher Étienne. But the standout performances are in the supporting cast of prison inmates, in particular the crackling nervous energy of Pierre Lottin, as the jittery, borderline illiterate Jordan, and Sofian Khammes, who brings an unnerving blend of charm and menace to gang boss Kamel.
The Big Hit review – impressive French prison comedy-drama
Based on the true story of a drama teacher who worked in a high-security jail, this film crackles with charm and nervous energy
Wendy Ide is the Observer's deputy film critic