French helmer Lucas Belvaux's The Right of the Weakest - a stark kitchen sink drama with occasional and unpredictable flashes of humor - meditates on the question of when to resign oneself to a sad fate and when to buck the system, even if it means risking everything. This ensemble piece observes the perpetually flagging fortunes of several male steelworkers in a French industrial community whose one bright spot is a regular weekly card game. The men exist at varying levels of despair, but all are losers. They include: Jean Pierre (Patrick Descamps), a wheelchair-bound sad sack who must be carried to the card game; Robert, who lives in the same tenement and exhibits a propensity for waking up at odd hours and drinking himself into a stupor; and Marc (Lucas Belvaux), an assembly line worker at a beer factory whose job involves untangling bottles. Patrick (Eric Caravaca) qualifies as the most impressive of the group (which isn't saying much) - a househusband and college graduate, married and with a son, but one whose economic status sinks rapidly when his wife loses her only means of transportation to work. Ultimately, the men put their heads together and devise a wild method of escaping from the doldrums - which, though improbable, just might be crazy enough to work.
by Nathan Southern synopsis