Cash - A film written and directed by Eric Besnard

A lowly bug exterminator saunters into the swanky offices of a major investment
bank in the heart of Paris. Under threat of being gassed by his toxic products,
two secretaries are encouraged to leave their offices. The bug man transforms
himself into an elegant banker and takes a seat at a desk, which he adorns with
framed photos. Rolling a steel marble between his fingers like a conjuror, he waits for his appointment to arrive. But it’s not who he expected. A mysterious phone call
arouses his suspicions. His fears are confirmed when his visitor pulls a gun on him.

The transaction ends with Solal, the conman-bugman-banker lying dead next to a photo of himself and another man.

18 months later. Cash, the other man on the photo, wins a game of mini-boules
against a group of kids. He hurriedly pockets the 1-euro prize and rushes after a
beautiful woman walking through the streets of Paris. After surprising her with the
anonymous dispatch of bouquets of flowers while she’s in a hair salon, Cash hops on a
bus and heads for his meeting. He’s due at a print shop where his accomplices are
printing off forged bills. The trouble is they’re expecting him to arrive with real bills to work their scam and Cash spent them all on the flowers. With nimble mind and
agile fingers, Cash picks the pocket of a guy riding the same bus. He now has all he
needs for the print shop scam.

Cash and his gang demonstrate their printing process to their client, Letallec, who
buys the plates that produce such perfect bills. Except that the bills Letallec’s expert inspects are real ones, substituted for the freshly printed ones at the last minute, by Cash’s sleight of hand. The sale is made and a bottle of champagne is cracked open.

Everybody seems satisfied with the deal. Especially Julia Molina, the beautiful,
dynamic cop hiding out in the building opposite. She has photographed the whole
transaction and is clearly intrigued by Cash, the handsome, enigmatic conman.

Back at the office, Julia meets her boss, Chief Delteil who wants to know what she’s
working on. If she can nail a high-profile case quickly, she will beat out her rival,
Flandrin, for an important promotion. Flandrin interrupts their discussion with news
that Maxime, France’s most elusive conman, seems to be lining up a massive job for
the coming months. If Flandrin gets him, Julia can wave goodbye to her promotion.

Julia gets home to find someone has broken into her apartment. She’s not impressed
by his technique, but is happy to talk to Fred, one of the guys working for Cash in the print shop. He is her informer and she uses her power over him with malicious
pleasure. He tells her that Cash is bored of the print shop con and has something
better and much, much bigger lined up, although Fred doesn’t yet have details.

At the billiard hall that operates as a front for Cash’s operation, he throws a game of poker against a high-rolling Brazilian, Kruger, who is so pleased with his haul of cash that he doesn’t think to ask Cash what he had in his hand. We learn from François, one of Cash’s inner circle, along with Fred and his girlfriend Léa, that Cash is in Paris with one sole aim. To take revenge for his brother’s death. His brother was Solal, the conman murdered at the beginning of our story.

Cash organizes a rooftop dinner for Garance, the beauty he sent flowers to. His
seduction of her is charming and every bit as romantic as the setting, with the City of Lights shimmering in the background. In the street below, however, in an unmarked
van, Julia and Mickey, her deputy, are listening in to everything that happens. The
roof is wired and Julia hears Cash propose marriage to Garance. Her eyes light up.
Now, she’s sure that Garance, and her very rich father, are lined up as the victims of Cash’s next, and most thrilling, scam.

Back at the office, however, Flandrin seems to be closing in on Maxime. The pressure
is on for Julia. Then Mickey tells her that Cash is closing down the operation. He told François that he has fallen in love with Garance and is calling off the con, rather than his wedding. Just then, Letallec, the pigeon from the print shop, and some hired goons march into the art gallery on the ground floor of Cash’s building.

Cash manages to escape through an emergency exit, but Letallec’s thugs are hot on
his heels. He manages to lose them in the streets of Paris, but they pick up his trail again. Just when it seems inevitable that they will corner him, a van door slides open and Julia invites Cash to get in. He is grateful and then surprised when he sees the technology in the van and photos of himself and his crew all over the walls.

At the billiard hall, Julia makes Cash a curious offer. She has more than enough
evidence to charge him for the print shop con. But it’s nickel-and-dime stuff. She
knows that he has a major scam in the pipeline. In return for her allowing him to
proceed, she wants a cut of the profits. Despite François’s protests that they
shouldn’t work with a cop, Cash is easily convinced. The con is back on. Moreover,
Cash seems impressed by Julia’s many charms. He invites her to a party that
Garance’s father, Dubreuil, is giving at his huge family home.

The party turns out to be a charity auction. Garance’s father also seems attracted to
Julia. He promises to show her his art collection once the auction is over. He also
persuades Cash to spend a huge sum to sponsor a hippopotamus. Garance, it seems,
loves hippos. As the party draws to a close, Cash and Julia, with the cuddly toys that signify they have sponsored an animal, wait impatiently for Garance and Dubreuil.
This is where they will hook them for what will be their most masterful con so far.
When they finally arrive, Garance and her father seem very pleased with themselves.
The promised tour begins, but Cash and Julia are soon dismayed to find themselves in
a room filled with all the staff who were working at the party. They seem to enjoy a
friendlier relationship with Dubreuil and Garance than is usually the case for servants.

It turns out that the auction was a huge scam to get money off the rich and famous
who are always ready to splash some cash for a good cause. Garance has been playing
Cash at his own game. She takes great delight in belittling him talents, as a conman
and lover, in front of Julia.

On the way home in Julia’s car, Cash is devastated, but determined to get revenge.
Julia is strangely satisfied. She suspects that Dubreuil is in fact Maxime. She knows
that Maxime is planning a huge con. And now she knows that Cash is determined to
take revenge for this evening’s humiliation. She savors the prospect of seeing them
try to outwit each other and watch her walk away with the prize – several million
dollars’ worth of diamonds.

In the next few days, things move fast. Julia begins to feel the squeeze at work as
two inspectors from Internal Affairs begin an audit of the department. By planting
some forged bills on one of Maxime’s men, Cash succeeds in persuading Garance to
bring Julia and himself on board for the upcoming con. At the same time, Maxime
invites Julia to a candlelit dinner on his houseboat to exercise a little up close and personal charm. Later that evening, she receives a message. The game is about to
begin. She must be at the Hotel du Cap in Monaco by 4pm the next day.

In a luxury hotel on the French Riviera, these elegant and resourceful con artists face off in a daring, dangerous and erotic game of bluff and counter-bluff. There can only be one winner. Who will it be?

No comments: