The Dardenne brothers, Luc and Jean-Pierre, have made a series of affecting and profound films, focusing on working-class characters in their native Belgium. Their usual strategy is to concentrate one individual and chart the course of a seemingly small yet enormous movement of the soul. At their best, their films float along, maintaining interest in a casual way, and then arrive with unexpected intensity and impact.
But in "Two Days, One Night," the movements are indeed small and their impact is slight. Worse, the action is repetitious and the situation programmatic. This is the first Dardenne movie that feels sentimental and condescending, not clear-eyed and sympathetic.