A cracking good melodrama set in a contemporary world of high finance and low cunning, Costa-Gavras’ Capital nimbly plays on our worst memories of the 2008 economic meltdown with a persuasively detailed tale of boardroom politics, international banking, remorseless backstabbing and billion-dollar wheeling-and-dealing.

Capital follows the sudden rise of Marc Tourneuil (Gad Elmaleh), a hard-driven up-and-comer who becomes CEO of France’s (fictional) Phenix Bank. Board members figure the appointment is just a temporary measure, but the new CEO has every intention of holding on to his job. Tourneuil’s most helpful ally in his bid to maintain his position turns out to be Dittmar Rigule (Gabriel Byrne), the glad-handing but hot-tempered head of a US hedge fund. Rigule views Tourneuil as a useful pawn in his long-range plan to take complete control of the venerable French bank. Tourneuil, of course, has a different role in mind.

Working from a cleverly twisty script, Costa-Gavras refuses to make things easy for the viewer, avoiding the cliché of a flawed protagonist in search of redemption.

Joe Leydon, Variety