In 1907, following a violent crime wave, French President Georges Clémenceau decides to create the first motorized police brigade, soon nicknamed the Tiger's brigades. One of the first missions assigned to chief inspector Paul Valentin and his daring men, inspectors Terrasson,Pujol and trainee inspector Achille Bianchi, is to neutralize Jules Bonnot and his ruthless gang of anarchists ... Written by
French visa # 113185 delivered on 22-3-2006. See more »
The Russian prince is called Volkonsky by some characters (and the credits), Bolkonsky by others. (The Bolkonskys were a genuine Russian noble family, while Volkonsky is a character in Tolstoy's War and Peace.) See more »
Les Brigades du Tigre is a lavish and rather enjoyable French movie spin off of a much-loved TV series, a sort of Les Untouchables about an elite quartet of crime fighters taking on Russian anarchists, crooked politicians and embezzlers in 1912 in the runup to the signing of the Triple Entente between Russia, France and Britain that would make the First World War an inevitability. The film suffers from the lack of a memorable Al Capone-like opponent and there are no shootouts at train stations (though it does all revolve around a coded ledger) but there is a particularly good one at a farmhouse that draws a crowd of approving visiting aristocrats to watch as if it were a grouse shoot and a rather spectacular assassination at a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's Ivan the Terrible (well, it's one way to evoke the spirit of Eisenstein if you can't do the Odessa Steps scene again!). But rather than a straight-out gangster movie, this is a period conspiracy thriller that naturally takes a slightly leftist leaning despite the heroes being the mobile brigades who tended to lean more to the right, and there is a sense of the film trying to have its moral cake and eat it at times with the characters' divided political sympathies occasionally seeming more like demographic-appeasing on behalf of the producers: Clovis Cornillac's cop even delivers a speech about what standup guys anarchists are just to reassure the modern target audience in the banlieues that these cochons are cool anti-establishment types.
The heroes themselves are initially rather lacking in charisma, and it's mainly wardrobe and facial hair that distinguishes them at first - unless you count Gerard Jugnot's cameo as their boss, what little star power the film has is provided by Jacques Gamblin's wounded anarchist and Diane Kruger's Russian Princess with revolutionary sympathies - but, like Claude Bolling's initially slightly irritatingly jaunty Borsalino-style TV theme music, they start to grow on you as the plot becomes more intriguing. Directed with some flair by Jérome Corbuau, it's an enjoyable Saturday-nighter, and thankfully the French PAL DVD has English subtitles (though only on the feature - the deleted scenes and featurettes are French only). A sequel is apparently in the works and for once it's not entirely unwelcome.
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