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The setting is modern day urban France. Maria, her boyfriend Karim, her best friend Linda and Karim's best friend, Manu, are the main characters in this at times powerful and intriguing yet ultimately empty film.
The first 20 minutes or so are very dull, especially the scenes between Karim and Manu. But Linda has charm and is a nice character, and whilst Maria isn't the most likeable character to ever appear in a film, she does have a certain quality that engages the audience, say, an X-factor.
Once the film gets going it's mostly a good to average experience. One of the film's main strengths is its portrayal of the ethnic melting pot that is modern day France. Racism is a subject running through the film, from inter-racial relationships to police brutality and ignorance, which is the other main aspect of the film. After she is caught shoplifting, Maria is taken to a police station. And what unfolds will become one of her worst nights ever.
And while all of this is very moving and involving, towards the latter part of the movie everything really kind of sinks. A plot turn is handled very messily and our feelings toward certain characters are almost turned on their head. And the ending is empty, trying to tie up everything but tying up nothing.
One aspect of the film that I must mention is the cinematography, which is excellent, especially towards the end of the film. Also, the editing, also near the end, is wonderful. The editing of Maria thinking back to what happened to her is superb.
Pascal, the Police Inspector, is a very nice character who is very chipper. The `evil cop' character seems a little over done, but at the same time you never think what he does cannot or hasn't already happened in real-life, and I'm sure, sadly, it has.
While the film isn't terrible, and does have it's good moments, I can't really recommend this ultimately empty experience.
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