The man whose life is falling apart is a staple of every genre from comedy to horror and at its best is a storyline that provides for some great look-through-your-hands moments. The French film 'Lemming' has its share of them too, but could leave some viewers more confused than contented.

Alain (Lucas) is a home automation engineer who seems to have the perfect life - an interesting and beautiful wife in Benedicte (Gainsbourg), a nice home, a rewarding job and the admiration of his boss, Mr Pollock (Dussollier). In fact Mr Pollock is so taken with Alain that he decides to invite himself and wife Alice (Rampling) to dinner at his employee's house. It's a disaster; then Alain finds a lemming blocking his sink and from thereon a very controlled man finds his world unravelling at a rapid pace.

German-born director Moll won acclaim for his film 'Harry, He's Here to Help' (which also starred Lucas) and 'Lemming' is one of the more unusual offerings this year - blurring dreams and reality and the supernatural and the psychological. It owes much to Hitchcock (is the lemming in the sink a McGuffin or a symbol for something else?) and you'll find yourself wrong-turned on numerous occasions, with the performances excellent and suitably low-key. But while you'll be engrossed throughout, the ending could be a disappointment because there's so much left up in the air. Then again, if you find yourself confused, spare a thought for Alain.

Even if this film promises more than it ultimately delivers, for arguably the most excruciating dining scene in cinema history, it's worth seeing.

Harry Guerin