Story-wise, the plot’s quite simple. We join six middle-aged men enjoying an ocean excursion on a luxury yacht. With a few days to kill before they sail into Athens and return home, they decide to play a game to find out who is the best person on the boat, with the lucky winner taking home a coveted chevalier pinky ring. In order to figure this out, the group must score each other on absolutely everything; from personality and posture to how well or poorly they perform everyday tasks. With the on-board help providing each man with a notebook and pen, the game tentatively begins. Scores mount, paranoia quickly takes hold.
Bizarre but refreshingly simple, Tsangari’s bottle comedy takes a good look at how we see ourselves and our tendency to compare every aspect of our lives to those around us. The Director’s female gaze is key here and allows for a more honest reflection of alpha-male competition. Interestingly, Tsangari’s film is almost entirely testosterone filled, with female characters only appearing briefly as off-screen voices. This choice allows for an unbiased, outsider viewpoint through which to inspect the pissing-contest mentality that’s so often found in male dominated environments. As you can imagine, it’s not long before dick measuring is brought into the equation. Ridiculous? Yeah, but we all know it’s probably what would happen in real life.
Anchoring Tsangari’s cast is some dryly comic dialogue that finds humour in the minutia of everyday chat. A dinner table scene in which the gang debate whether or not one of their mates resembles a panda is particularly funny. As the game takes hold, each player's words earn more weight as personalities are painstakingly picked apart and each players’ cards are gripped ever closer to their chests. The cast all have their moments but it’s Makis Papadimitiriou who turns in the most broadly comic performance as overgrown manchild Dimitris. His peak is reached as the stakes get higher and the one-upmanship mounts, resulting in one of the film’s most left-field - but weirdly funny - sequences. As it stands, Greece might not exactly be well known - or known at all - for its comedy chops but with Chevalier, Tsangari shows us what we’re missing.