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Secrets of State (2008)
"Secret défense" (original title)

6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 2,250 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 14 critic

In France, terrorist groups and intelligence agencies battle in a merciless war everyday, in the name of radically opposed ideologies. Yet, terrorist and secret agents lead almost the same ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Alex
...
Diane / Lisa
...
Pierre
Mehdi Nebbou ...
Ahmed
Rachida Brakni ...
Leïla / Chadia
...
Al Barad
...
Jérémy
Katia Lewkowicz ...
Aline
Kamel Belghazi ...
Aziz
Djemel Barek ...
Khaled
Carim Messalti ...
Hajj
Hassam Ghancy ...
Danar
Nicolas Marié ...
Fouche
...
Salem
...
Slim
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Storyline

In France, terrorist groups and intelligence agencies battle in a merciless war everyday, in the name of radically opposed ideologies. Yet, terrorist and secret agents lead almost the same lives. Condemned to secrecy, these masters of manipulation follow the same methods. Alex and Al Barad are two of them. The former is the head of the D.G.S.E.'s (Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure, the French equivalent of the CIA or the MI6) counter-terrorism unit while the latter reigns over a terrorist network, and both fight using the most ruthless of weapons: human beings. Secret Défense (aka Secrets Of State) tells of their secret war through the destinies of Diane, a student recruited by the French secret service, and Pierre, a troubled young man who thinks terrorism will bring him salvation. Trained and indoctrinated for missions which are beyond them, they are both drawn into a chain of events from which they seem incapable of escaping. While they both be sacrificed in the name of ... Written by Happy_Evil_Dude

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Thriller

Certificate:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

10 December 2008 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Secret Defense  »

Box Office

Budget:

€11,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Philippe Haïm started working on this film by writing down everything he could about the D.G.S.E. (the French secret service) and the challenges and threats the agency seems to receive. He then proceeded to write three drafts of the script with the input of several consultants, after which co-writer Julien Sibony came in, and later Natalie Carter. Not knowing anything about the world of espionage and counter-terrorism, Sibony was able to see the script's weaknesses, such as when it was unclear for the uninitiated, and Carter was essential to develop Vahina Giocante's character Diane. In the end, the 18th draft was the shooting script, even though several changes were made while filming and even during the editing process. See more »

Goofs

The terrorist boards Metro line 4 in station Montparnasse. He never changes line. He is pulled out of it in a station where you can see, at the front of the train, a passage going towards line 11. Being in line 4 to change to line 11, you have to take the train northward. But nowhere on line 4 northward, there is any such passage at the front of the train. The only such passage would be at the back of the train, in station Châtelet. See more »

Connections

Featured in En bonne intelligence (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Space Weaver
Performed by Lisa Gerrard
Composed by Lisa Gerrard
Published by Sony ATV Music Publishing Australia
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User Reviews

 
Tense French Anti-Terrorism Thriller
9 July 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

It makes a difference to see it from the French point of view. After all, ten percent of the population of France are now refugees or descendants of refugees from Muslim North Africa. This film is about the French Secret Service, which has initials I can never remember, but you know the one. It portrays them as hyper-efficient, hyper-modern, ruthless and dedicated professionals who will, as Gérard Lanvin the lead actor puts it in the film, be 'patriots' who will 'do anything for my country'. And 'anything' really means, unfortunately, 'anything'. The film portrays in grim, horrifying, and fascinating detail the fantastic entrapments devised to recruit young agents in the fight against Muslim terrorism. The French call the Qaeda fanatics by their alternative name of 'Salafis' rather than 'Wahabbis'. The terrorists are portrayed in 'Damascus' and 'Afghanistan' (both actually filmed in Morocco) with extreme and convincing realism. The film is disturbing in many places, with one homosexual rape scene and several murders. I believe the horrifying footage of the dog in the glass cage who is killed by cyanide gas is a real Qaeda video. The set-ups carried out by the French secret service are so devious that they would make Machiavelli blush. The film does not have the Hollywood approach to violence, which always focuses on childish and adolescent fantasies of things crashing and exploding. Instead, the French, who are a far more sophisticated people, concentrate on what happens to people rather than the havoc wreaked to mere objects. In this, they are more straightforward. If a severed head has to be delivered in a cake box, it is delivered in a mundane ordinary manner, and it does not have to be delivered by a helicopter smashing into a skyscraper. Anyway, there are few skyscrapers in Paris, thank God. (Skyscrapers have no business existing anywhere other than New York and Shanghai.) The attitude towards the agent ('humint' to the Americans) is brazenly unfeeling. As Lanvin says: 'An agent is not a person, he is a tool.' Controllers are not allowed to treat their agents as human beings. The film features an astonishingly versatile performance by the young actress Vahina Giocante, who is tricked into becoming an agent, and who screams at Lanvin when she realizes what he has done to her that he is 'all alone'. He answers with resignation: 'Yes, I know.' The whole story is very bleak, that is, when it stops its restless pace of action long enough to allow anyone a moment to reflect. The film is really a most impressive achievement, exciting, well made, relentlessly entertaining, if you have the stomach for the grisly bits. The director, Philippe Haïm, who also wrote the story, appears from his name to be of North African descent, so perhaps he has a special feel for all of this. He has done a superb job of making a French 'blockbuster'


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