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Mangin, a police inspector in Paris, leans hard on informants to get evidence on three Tunisian brothers who traffic in drugs. He arrests one, Simon, and his girl-friend Noria. Simon's brothers go to their lawyer. He springs Noria, who promptly steals 2 million francs that belong to the Tunisians. They suspect her of the theft; her life as well as the lawyer's is in danger. Meanwhile, Noria is playing with both the lawyer and Mangin's affections. Mangin is mercurial anyway: intimidating and bloodying suspects, falling for a police commission trainee before flipping for Noria, wearing his emotions on his sleeve. Can he save the lawyer and Noria, and can he convince her to love? Written by
This definitely isn't the most exciting movie about law enforcement (it took me three tries to finish it because I kept falling asleep). Instead of car chases and shoot-outs it contains a lot of dialogue (some obviously improvised) and focuses mostly on the relationships between the various interesting characters. It is a kind of a police procedural, but even there it focuses on the more mundane aspects of police work that the much more famous Hollywood(and slightly more famous Italian) cop movies tend to skip over.
The whole thing wouldn't work though if it weren't for the acting. Gerard Depardieu plays one of his sympathetic anti-heroes, the kind of guy you really shouldn't like, but eventually really do. Even though she was only about 18 at the time, Sophie Marceau manages to hold her own against the great Depardieu as a potential femme fatale who is mixed up with the Tunisian drug dealers he is trying to bust. It's well known that Marceau is a "Bond girl", but it's not often mentioned that (with the possible exception of Eva Green) she's also the most TALENTED of all the "Bond girls". I was impressed with Sandrine Bonnaire for another reason. I knew she was a formidable actress from Claude Chabrol's "L'Initiation", but I had no idea how cute and sexy she was in her younger years. She has a much smaller role as a 19-year-old prostitute Depardieu's character picks up, but she handles the requisite French-movie full-frontal nude scenes both Depardieu and Marceau uncharacteristically fore-go.
The crime story here is interesting too in that both the Tunisian criminals and the cops are obviously flawed, but not unsympathetic characters. (You kind of don't want anybody to win or lose).This is kind of a slow-going flick, but ultimately it is worth it.
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