Biting social commentary, corporate intrigue, and Eric Cantona headbutting the people who annoy him, what is not to like?
This review of Inhuman Resources (Netflix) is spoiler-free.
In a post-global recession world (that is at least until the impending one hits) it is easy to imagine why there is room for TV shows about disgruntled, unemployed people prepared to do extra-ordinary things to return to the status they once held. Inhuman Resources (Netflix) is another to add to the canon.
Alain (Eric Cantona) is an unemployed HR manager who for the last 6 years has been forced to take menial work in order to pay the bills and keep the wolf from the door. When the opportunity for a well-paid job in a large firm comes his way, Alain is prepared to do whatever it takes to secure the job and, in turn, reclaim his dignity.
Inhuman Resources is a bit of an odd one, combining a harsh social realism that would not be out of place in a Ken Loach film with a sort of corporate thriller. It is a strange mix and it works. Anchoring the whole thing is the central performance of Eric Cantona. He is entirely believable as a man whose dignity has been stripped away by the machinery of corporate France prepared to take extreme steps to restore his manhood.
Cantona’s Alain is angry and depressed. Feeling as though he has been thrown on the scrapheap much sooner than he was ready to be, the chance to be useful, capable and competent once again is intoxicating; so although he is supposedly doing this for his family, there is a strong sense of him doing this solely to satisfy his own ego.
Plot-wise, there are plenty of twists and turns and the corporate espionage angle works to keep things moving along. The corporate executives are pretty much all cliché figures; unfeeling caricatures in nice suits, all prepared to ruin as many lives as they need to in order to turn a profit. Positioning them this way keeps us on the side of Alain but does slightly feel like a missed opportunity to add a bit more depth to this.
To say that Inhuman Resources took me by surprise would be an understatement. The pitch; Eric Cantona is a disgruntled HR manager prepared to exact violence on a group of unassuming corporate executives is compelling, yes, but as an English football fan whose strongest association with Cantona is of him ruining the ‘96 cup final with a last-minute winner against my team – it seemed totally bonkers. Instead what we are presented with is entertaining, thought-provoking, and full of surprises.
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