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Bertrand Tavernier is in top form with this gripping, superbly mounted drama set against the savage Catholic/Protestant wars that ripped France apart in the 16th century. Based on a novella... See full summary »
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During WWII a group of Jewish children is sent to a castle outside Paris to hide there until things cool down, but it eventually becomes their new home. Later, children from the liberated concentration camps arrive there as well.
Love draws a woman into unknown dimensions in this drama from France. Emma (Clemence Poesy) is a real estate salesperson who is visiting an airport when she meets Francois (Gaspard Ulliel),... See full summary »
I agree with those who praise this movie for having fabulous cinematography. There are many picturesque scenes and the natural settings are beautifully captured. And if you're a Gaspard Ulliel fan, you'll probably die for this movie because the whole camera angles seem to be set to compliment his looks.
But aside from these aspects, the movie is quite awkward. Not to mention strange use of slow-mo, the plot jumps around and lines are ill-written. Comic reliefs pop up in inappropriate moments and the director seems to be trying hard to include pretty much every possible characters in the script. It would've been better if they had been given less to speak. Now they look like they're trying to convince the audience how they're feeling. There is no art of silence in Jacquou le Croquant. This may be due to lack of acting talent observed throughout the movie (perhaps exception of Tchéky Karyo). Gaspard Ulliel exhibits no emotions, not so much as intense anger or frustration. You'll know how serious I am when I say his performance in Hannibal Rising seems much better by comparison. There is no charisma when he leads the townspeople to rioting; he looks like he's being led by someone else.
What the movie promises on its poster or DVD cover is a powerful historical piece with intriguing characters and extravagant battle scenes. You'll find none of those in Jacquou le Croquant. When you think about it, there's really nothing new in the storyline: an orphan of a lower class who is treated unjustly by a noble and is driven to vengeance. And in such a genre as this one does not need much skill to act. The roles are simple and clearly laid out; these aren't some complex characters which deserve a long time of research. And with accomplished cinematography, Jacquou le Croquant should've been much better.
I would recommend this movie if you like all things French (like I do) or Gaspard Ulliel, or if you'd just give it a go for the sake of beautiful scenes. However if you put heavy emphasis on plot structure or are just tempted by the poster, this movie isn't worth your money.
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