A Different Type of Interview
With a strong first episode, Inhuman Resources wastes little time getting right to the heart of the action, introducing us to the characters and setting the scene for what promises to be a very tense and enjoyable thriller to follow. The series offers some decent characterisation and an interesting premise, loosely based on a true story and adapted from the novel “Cadres Noirs” by Pierre Lemaitre.
Episode 1 of Inhuman Resources starts with Alain Delambre talking about his growing anger and his 6 year struggle after becoming unemployed from working as an HR manager. As he tells his story, we cut to the past with Alain cleaning the floors of an underground car park while his CEO, Alexandre Dorfmann, arrives in the Exxya office building which specializes in aeronautical manufacturing. It’s here we learn that the company is not doing well. We also see that Alain’s life with his wife is difficult as he’s unemployed, only able to find small, meaningless jobs and struggling to make ends meet.
In Exxya, Alex meets with Bertrand Lacoste as he needs help choosing the next manager of his factory in Beauvais. He wants to find a situation where he can test the potential candidates to see who can handle the pressure and but also violence as he or she will need to fire 1000 employees, whom they expect will react very violently.
Bertrand suggests organizing a hostage situation where they will be tested to see if they care more about loyalty to the company or their security. He goes on to offer finding someone who used to work in human resources to interrogate and evaluate them during this.
While working in one of his little jobs in a factory, Alain is mistreated by his boss and ends up head-butting him. At home, his wife tends to his wounds and shows him a job application for a recruiter in HR. He is a bit reluctant though after being made redundant 6 years ago. His two daughters Mathilde and Lucie, along with son in law Gregory, arrive for dinner. However, after listening to Gregory’s arrogance and feeling frustrated by his situation, Alain starts arguing with him.
The next day, Alexandre has a meeting with the board members about their situation and the shareholders’ doubts in the company. He tells them he is planning to fire over 1250 employees in Beauvais while Alain returns to the factory and finds out that he is fired. This in turn prompts him to apply for the recruitment job.
After looking through all the applicants, Alex sees Alain’s file and decides he might be a good fit. At home, Alain is surprised to receive a letter to attend an interview and a knowledge test. He has doubts again but his wife does her best to encourage him. Unfortunately, he later struggles with the test and doesn’t manage to answer all the questions. Things continue getting worse for Alain when he finds out that his ex-boss is now suing him for damage to the sum of 100,000 euros. Alain claims that it was self defence but this pushes him over the edge when he confronts the lawyer in the case about it.
He later seeks the help of Lucie, who promises to help but asks him to try and calm himself around his family as he has been acting too volatile. The next day, Alain is shocked to find out that he has an interview after the test. As he meets with Lacoste for the interview, Alain mentions that he is surprised to be called in because of his age. Bertrand tells him that there will be four other potential recruiters who will go through a test and reveals that he will be one of the men interrogating and terrorizing the candidates during a staged hostage situation to find out who is the most resistant.
In the evening, Alain tells his wife about the test but remains vague about what it will entail, which gives them hope. The next day, Alain seeks the help of his friend Charles to find out who his competitors will be. At the same time, his wife finds out that the company is about to fire many employees and understands why they are looking for a new director to do this dirty job. This disturb her as Alain is about to help a company accomplish this unfortunate feat.
Back in Charles’ caravan, Alain looks at the other potential recruiters and worries that they are more qualified than him. They then decide that the next step will be to find out who the candidates are, which is where the episode ends.
Already after just one episode Inhuman Resources manage to spin a web of tension and intrigue as we follow the misadventures of Alain. It’s easy to sympathize with him too after finding out how much bad luck he has had over the years and he has a simple motivation to work hard and provide for his family.
Eric Cantona is perfect in this role, which looks tailored for him, while the rest of the cast are giving great performances too. There is a strong sense of urgency while we experience Alain’s desperation and acceptance to do this unethical task with the staged hostage taking. While we can expect things not to run smoothly, the drama is already very captivating and certainly one to watch going forward.