Just because most foreign films that are imported to the US are of superior quality (that being, after all, the reason they are imported) doesn't mean that other countries don't make their share of formulaic movies. The most surprising thing about THE MACHINE is the oversupply of talent
that went into this wholly routine thriller.
Dr. Marc Lacroix (Gerard Depardieu), a psychiatrist specializing in treatment of the criminally insane, has invented a machine to examine the inner workings of the brain. His chosen test subject is Michel Zyto (Didier Bourdon), an impotent psychopath who has stabbed four women to death. But the
machine has an unforeseen result: it transfers Zyto's mind into Lacroix's body and vice versa. Zyto overpowers Lacroix and returns him (in Zyto's body) to his cell.
Zyto takes his place in Lacroix's family. He discovers that he is able to have normal sexual relations with Lacroix's wife, Marie (Nathalie Baye), although he is still troubled by murderous impulses. Lacroix (in Zyto's body) escapes to the apartment of his mistress Marianne (Natalia Woerner), the
only person who knows about the machine. Marianne tries to warn Marie, who doesn't believe her and passes her story on to Zyto. Zyto goes to Marianne's apartment and stabs her to death.
Zyto brings Lacroix's son, Leonard (Erwan Baynaud), to the lab and tricks him into changing minds, leaving Zyto's mind in Leonard's body and Leonard's mind in his father's body. Lacroix and Leonard escape, but are too late to prevent Zyto from killing Marie. After overpowering Zyto, Lacroix puts
everyone's minds back in their proper bodies, kills Zyto, and destroys the machine. He confesses his actions to the police, and hopes that his mind is still entirely his own.
All that separates THE MACHINE from dozens of hokey mad scientist movies dating back to the glory days of Universal Studios are subtitles and an explicit interest in sex, although the psychosexual babble offered in the script is strictly Psych 101: Zyto murders women to whom he is attracted with a
knife out of frustration at his own impotence.
One is left to wonder why top stars like Depardieu and Baye would agree to appear in something like this. Perhaps the original novel, prominently mentioned in the credits, was more substantial. Or perhaps Depardieu was attracted to the chance to play three different characters in the same body,
though none of them is developed enough to make it worth his (or the viewer's) while. (Graphic violence, nudity, sexual situations, adult situations, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: Just because most foreign films that are imported to the US are of superior quality (that being, after all, the reason they are imported) doesn't mean that other countries don't make their share of formulaic movies. The most surprising thing about THE MACH… (more)