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 »
The Malakian clan, a family of ruthless gangsters, controls the underworld of Southern France. At its head, the violent godfather Milo Malakian rules his world with an iron fist. His son ... See full summary »
The two brothers Julien (Nicolas Duvauchelle) and Louis (Steve Le Roi) work on their father's steel barge, which he won't let them inherit. To keep the boat, they resort to stealing a ... See full summary »
Steve Le Roi
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
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 »
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 »
At last a GOOD French Film!! :) Bravo Philippe Haïm!
At last a GOOD French Film!! :) First, to introduce my opinion and place it in perspective, I must say that for more than two decades, I've been watching almost everything released both in the US and in Europe and the best of Asia, South America and the rest of the world. And among all topics, realistic spy/intelligence Films/Mini-Series/TV series has been in my favorites for half a decade. Thus I am a big fan of this genre and one can honestly say that my culture about it as well as about movies in general is quite large. My favorites lately being by far BBC's MI5:Spooks, I've watched all 7 seasons of it (about 100 episodes). Or for example, I'd also recommend The Company (Miniseries) or DeNiro's The Shepherd. Being French, I also watch a lot of our films and I must sadly admit that it is most often a boring torture, especially lately. But not today with Secret Defense. And I can at last happily share and say that SECRET DEFENSE is probably in the BEST entertaining spy French Films released for a long time. (I also rarely write reviews. Only mostly to praise and recommend a good film that might need attention or to sack the worst pretentious ones that attract crowds of sheep despite having been a torture to watch for me).
Why is SECRET DEFENSE so worthy of our attention? First, the storyline is properly well written, simple and plausible rather than far fetched to exaggerated improbabilities for the sole objective of cinematic roller coasting attempts too often seen in this genre. That makes it more believable and interesting. The counseling from renowned French and Oriental experts on this topic was wise, mostly followed and thus effective. There are not that many features on our former DGSE and I praise the production for not going in the James Bond direction but more in the MI5 one. Although one true fan might ask when are we at last gonna see and show how intelligence work can mostly be truly boring or spooky and inhumane? But we're getting in that direction here, right from the beginning when Lanvin introduces himself in saying that an agent must be seen as a weapon only and never as a human.
The final editing is properly paced with no unnecessary elements making the movie properly entertaining and interesting.
Then, the visual directing is OK+ with some cinematographic effects worthy of a big screen release. That is becoming rare.
The excellent beginning credits are Oscar worthy!!
Then the actors directions is not questionable. Gérard Lanvin (lead actor) is perfect as always. Second & third characters are never playing out of tune. That is remarkable in France where even lead actors can sometimes, way too often, be left directed out of tune in the final editing. That is a torture to my hear as much as a bad singer. And I'm not even mentioning second characters that often sound worst than imaginable, worst that the worst liar. Not here.
Vahina Giocante (lead actress) is also very well directed and surprising when she (quite often) manages to make us forget her exquisite beauty and discover her effective tormented face full of emotions that then becomes not only pretty but efficiently emotive, in the Charlize Theron direction. And like Charlize, she has the highly saluted courage of not fearing to not pass over the best primal parts of her, her very beautiful body in the nude and bare butt. And that makes sense to show them since the story uses her beauty as a "weapon, that only is an agent" (dixit Lanvin). A bit too rarely here but more could indeed unfortunately have affected the nature of her performance in the movie. Thanks Vahina.
Overall, All this makes SECRET DEFENSE a very honorable or good French Film, one of its best made in the last decade in the entertaining with a substance spy action genre. So watch it and prove otherwise if you don't agree.
18 of 36 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?