In the middle of the night, someone brings Ivan's body home to his wife and his sad-faced, jug-eared son. Through flashbacks, the film discloses the relationships among Ivan and his brother...
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In the middle of the night, someone brings Ivan's body home to his wife and his sad-faced, jug-eared son. Through flashbacks, the film discloses the relationships among Ivan and his brother Alex, a cop with a cleanliness fetish; siblings Juliette and Jimmy, Ivan's partners in a seedy nightclub; the love triangle of Alex, Juliette, and Marie, a professor of philosophy; and of Alex and his nephew, Ivan's dour, stoic son. Ivan's death changes every relationship. Images of paragliders, sun bathers, and opera suggest an expansive, colorful world outside the constricted lives of these characters. Written by
A crime family raises a new member, while Daniel Auteuil and Catharine Deneuve compete for the affections of (female) Laurence Cote
"Les Voleurs" (1996) is a neo-noir of a different kind, one that brings forward a love triangle and the inner workings of a crime family. It's an interesting and quite good movie that holds one's attention, but I wouldn't call it especially gripping. The story and characters are offbeat but most are still reasonably realistic. It's smoothly written, acted and filmed.
The title "Thieves" reflects the focus on a family of car thieves, from grandfather to son (Didier Bezace) on down to his 10-year old son (Julien Riviere). However, apart from a central scene involving a car theft, the story has little action. It's also not a psychological thriller. It's concerned primarily with its characters and their relationships. It generates decent suspense even so, while telling the story from the points of view of 4 characters at different times that embrace their conflicts and interactions.
Bezace's brother (Daniel Autueil) is a cop, and the two brothers do not get along. The story opens with the death of Bezace. The flashback structure reveals what happened. In the family's gang is loyal outsider Benoit Magimel. He has a sister, Laurence Cote, who as a shoplifter comes to Autueil's attention. She has an affair with him and simultaneously with a philosophy professor, Catherine Deneuve. This creates one major conflict in the story but also one coming-together as Auteuil and Deneuve cooperate at one point for the sake of the much younger and erratic Cote who gets more deeply involved in the gang's work, due to Bezace's insistence and despite her brother's objection.
Auteuil's character is very well-drawn. He's a world-class actor too, making almost any film he's in a worthwhile watch. Here he plays a humorless, bitter and suspicious cop who has seen the underside of human life for too long. Deneuve's character is unusual, a woman who has been happily married, has children and grandchildren, and then falls in love with Cote. I didn't find it believable. There are those who always rave about Deneuve's acting. I do not see it. To me she is usually sleepwalking or staring through her parts. The character of the 10-year old boy is very well drawn and acted. It's a high point of the movie. The depictions of the family and gang are all pointed and another plus for the movie.
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