"Le Mouton enragé" (1974), also known as "The French Way" or "Love at the Top" in English, is a stylish French social satire directed by Michel Deville. The film explores the fluidity and fickleness of social status and wealth, using the unique setting of 1970s Paris as a backdrop.
The film stars Jean-Louis Trintignant as Nicolas, a bank clerk with few prospects, and Romy Schneider as Maria, a beautiful woman who becomes an instrument in Nicolas' sudden rise in Parisian society. It's fascinating to watch the transformation of Nicolas from a meek underdog into a ruthless player in the world of finance and politics, a commentary perhaps on the corrupting nature of power.
"Le Mouton enragé" is a masterfully executed film, from the stylish costume and set designs that perfectly encapsulate the era, to the sharp and witty screenplay. Deville's film is filled with delicious ironies and sly commentary about the bourgeoisie, giving it a depth that persists beneath its stylish exterior.
Despite its satirical edge, "Le Mouton enragé" is also a character study. The performances are excellent across the board, with Trintignant and Schneider having a magnetic on-screen presence. Trintignant effectively portrays Nicolas' journey from innocence to cynicism, while Schneider's Maria is the embodiment of seduction and mystery, a woman who's seemingly a puppet in the men's world but possesses her own agency.
In short, "Le Mouton enragé" is an engaging social satire that combines sharp commentary with fascinating character study, all against the vibrant backdrop of 1970s Paris.