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In Nice, the international police force and the Russian mafia are chasing Anthony Zimmer, an intelligent man responsible for laundry of dirty money in France. Zimmer had extensive plastic surgery, and his new face and voice are completely unknown. The only means to reach Zimmer is through his beloved mistress Chiara, who is under surveillance of the police and the mobsters. While traveling by train to the country nearby Nice, the common man François Taillandier, who has the same body shape of Zimmer, is select by Chiara as if he were Zimmer and used as a bait to lure those that are pursuing her. When Taillandier is chased by the professional Russian killers, he runs the French police when the real situation begins to be disclosed to him. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When you're running for your life, who can you trust?
This is an engaging and quite clever thriller, produced, directed and acted as only the French do: stylish, cool, suave and with a twist. Or, was it a double twist? Here's the setup: a wanted criminal, Anthony Zimmer, is being hunted by the French police who want Zimmer in jail; and by the Russian mafia who just want him dead. Zimmer, however, has recently acquired a new face via plastic surgery; so nobody knows what he looks like now.
He has a weakness, however: the femme fatale who, in this case, is Chiara (Sophie Marceau), who keeps in touch with Zimmer via classified messages in the Herald-Tribune. As his girl friend, she's instructed by letter, from Zimmer, to board a train and pick the man who most closely resembles Zimmer's size and shape and then play up to him as though he was in fact Anthony Zimmer. Why? Because Zimmer wants an available sap to act as stand-in when the mafia make their hit...
Enter poor Francois Taillandier (Yvan Attal), minding his own business on the train when the gorgeous Chiara sets down opposite and, very adroitly, gets Francois to join her in her travels to the Cote d'Azur and a luxurious holiday he thinks. Francois figures he's maybe in heaven for the first day, a wonderful dinner, followed by the potential for real romance.
And then, the sky falls in...
In short order, Francois is running for his life (almost like Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man  and for similar reasons) as the mafia try twice to kill him, Chiara reveals that she set him up, the mafia keep on trying to make a hit on him, the police try to help him, and Zimmer's still pulling the strings it seems. Things are closing in on Francois, and it seems like only a matter of time before he takes a hit.
Not everything is as it seems, however...
To say more would spoil this film for you. Suffice to say that, like Hitchcock and others before, the denouement between the police, the mafia and the elusive Zimmer is very satisfying, if somewhat contrived, perhaps.
The ending, however, does raise some interesting questions and provides no firm answers, an aspect I particularly like because that allows me to formulate the complete end according to my own inclination. Besides, whenever you read about murder and mayhem in real life, you never get the full story anyway. Right?
The cinematography is exquisite on the French coastline, the sound track is good, the acting is...oh, who cares...I was too busy looking at Sophie Marceau anyway. Okay the acting was adequate, but not spectacular.
See this one. You won't regret the ninety minutes.
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