KG Productions, France 2 Cinema, 2012
Cohen Media Group (US release), 2013
Directed by Costa-Gavras
Screenplay by Karim Boukercha, Costa-Gavras, and Jean-Claude Grumberg
Based on the novel by Stéphane Osmont
Also starring: Gad Elmaleh, Natacha Régnier, Liya Kebede, Bernard Le Coq, and Céline Sallette
Special screening at Toronto International Film Festival September, 2012
Released in France November 13, 2012
Screening at Dublin International Film Festival, February 19, 2013
DVD and Blu-ray released in France April 23, 2013 via Amazon.fr
Screened at Los Angeles Film Festival June 17, 2013
Screened at Munich Film Festival June, 2013
Released in Montreal July 26, 2013
Released in the United States October 25, 2013
Money is the master
From legendary Academy Award (R)-winning writer/director Costa-Gavras (Missing, Z) comes CAPITAL, a fast-paced, darkly comic, suspenseful drama set in the high stakes world of global finance. When the CEO of France’s Phenix Bank collapses on the golf course, Machiavellian young executive Marc Tourneuil (Gad Elmaleh, “Midnight in Paris”) is crowned as his replacement. A whirlwind of ruthless ambition, power struggles, greed and deception ensues as Tourneuil’s brutal ascent is jeopardized by a hostile takeover attempt from a large American hedge fund led by Dittmar Rigule (Gabriel Byrne, “Vikings,” “In Treatment”), erotic distractions from international supermodel Nassim (Liya Kebede), and adversaries with an agenda for destruction. CAPITAL is a pointed commentary on how the Darwinian world of contemporary capitalism plays itself out across the global financial stage. —Rotten Tomatoes
More promotional stills are available in the Gallery.
More screencaps are available in the Gallery.
Gabriel’s character, Dittmar Rigule, the head of the American hedge fund, says some pretty nasty things to Marc (played by Gad Elmaleh) all through the film. Here are a few examples:
You help us and we help you…and I’m sure you’ll be interested in seeing the local fauna while you’re here, Marc…no need to bring the wife. We’re fully serviced here.
Be creative, Marc. The shareholders are fierce and they’re waiting…Time for you to start firing people…You lose our backing, Marc, and your little French frog friends will drop you.
You see, Marc, people believe that money is a tool. Well, they’re wrong. Money is the master. The better you serve it, the better it treats you.
Regarding the death of Marc’s predecessor at the bank:
Do you want my condolences…or my congratulations?
director Costa-Gavras, Gad Elmaleh, and Gabriel Byrne behind the scenes
video: interview with Gabriel Byrne
video: interview with Costa-Gavras
video: interview with Costa-Gavras
The Region 1 DVD is available via Amazon and can also be streamed online.
Costa-Gavras devoted the rest of his career to making films that reflect his fascination with absolute power gone berserk. His latest, a hectic, often grimly funny new thriller about the 2008 banking crisis, is also the subtlest in an oeuvre not known for its delicate touch…
Power-suited and staring down all opposition with his steely blue eyes, Marc takes to the ferocious one-upmanship of the new global economy like a duck to water. He jousts energetically with his colleagues and his Florida-based uber-boss, played by Gabriel Byrne, who’s having as much fun as possible for a man answering in an Irish accent to the name Dittmar Rigule…
Is there still the ghost of a good man in Marc, or is he an eternal opportunist ready to use anyone or any idea to promote himself? Is he a pawn, or a player checkmating the opposition at every turn?
You’ll have to see the movie to find out, but for now I’ll say that Capital has but one lonely heroic figure. For all its gleeful black comedy, the movie sounds a howl of despair for all our futures when, and I quote, “It all blows up.”
A serious European financial thriller is something of a novelty, and Costa-Gavras, the militant film master par excellence, shows perfect timing in his ambitious Capital, a film that lingers in the memory in spite of being rather irritating to watch.
The villain of the piece in this update on the evils of capitalism is the international banking system, coldly unveiled in its covert operations with predatory shareholders and brutal hedge funders…
In the role of the sharky Dittmar, whose motto is “money is the master, not the tool,” Byrne is plausible and truly frightening. He embodies the ugliness of unleashed capitalism in a very concrete way.
“Capital” boasts slick production values and a first-rate supporting cast. (Byrne amusingly devours huge swaths of scenery with uninhibited relish.) But its most effective selling point may be the word of mouth generated by viewers jazzed by having their worst suspicions about banks and other institutions brutally confirmed.
Gad Elmaleh, director Costa-Gavras, and Gabriel Byrne behind the scenes
Veteran director Costa-Gavras, who made his name decades ago with films that sharply addressed political issues—most notably, “Z” and “Missing“—focuses his attention this time on the kind of unscrupulous, unchecked money grab that caused the 2008 economic collapse. Like “Arbitrage” and “Margin Call,” which depicted that cataclysmic moment in our recent history, “Capital” features men behaving badly but with only a few glimmers of panic. His film remains suspenseful and his hero—or rather, his anti-hero—remains remorseless.
So Evil, They Cackle at Strategy Meetings
This is a movie in search of a tagline as succinct as “Greed is good,” from “Wall Street.” But the best it can come up with is “Money is the master,” the motto of Dittmar Rigule (Gabriel Byrne), a reptilian hedge fund manager, based in Miami, whose fund has borrowed money to take over the fictional Phenix bank in France. Nothing less than a 20 percent annual yield can keep the bank afloat. Dittmar is the movie’s only character to convey an enjoyment of the mischief he stirs up, not to mention a voluptuous appreciation for the perks of wealth. He slyly refers to the beauties lounging on his yacht as “the fauna.”
Stéphane Osmont is the pseudonym of an insider in the French banking industry. The novel was published in France in 2004.
I was first drawn to Le Capital by its jacket. Covering the front of the book is a photograph of a wolf’s open maw—fangs bared in mid-attack, gums glistening under a harsh light. Given the novel’s preoccupation with animalistic aggression, the wolf provides an excellent metaphor for the lethal corporate loner. Insatiably bloodthirsty, the animal perhaps poses the most danger to itself. As the saying goes, a wolf will chew off its own foot if caught in a trap—an extreme act of self-preservation that ironically depends on an act of self-destruction.
Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2013
Mr. Byrne presented the Volta award for career achievement to director Costa-Gavras after a screening of his financial melodrama Capital at the festival.