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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jamil, a new policeman, gets assigned to a tough district. Being of
Arab extraction, he comes to the force with a somewhat defensive
attitude, something that comes to a head when his superior, Emile
Carange, reprimands him for going against procedure. Jamil lets her
know he feels singled out because of his background, but Emile, a no
nonsense woman, reassures him it has nothing to do with that, he just
simply made a mistake.
An older woman comes to the station to report what she saw from the window. There are gangs dealing with drugs that are using the housing project. She has followed them as they bring the drugs and stash it in a place by the swimming pool. Emile, reluctantly goes along with Jamil's hunch to raid the place. Little prepared them for the shooting confrontation where one officer is wounded.
During the raid, Emile and Jamil corner one of the suspects in the pool area. The criminal overpowers Emilie, holding her in front of him as a shield. Jamil takes a gamble and kills the bandit who falls into the pool with Emile. Getting her out of the water, Emile is clearly in some sort of shock. Jamil takes her to the dressing room and makes her take a hot shower. Emile, who has been more than interested in the rookie cop, ends up having a torrid sex session, something some of the other officers notice.
"Un roman policier" is the debut feature from Stephanie Duvivier. It is a film that takes the viewer behind the scenes of a precinct in which a possible corrupt cop has been working with the enemy. In terms of action, the film is carefully crafted by Ms. Duvivier, who also wrote the screenplay. Her approach is more realistic than other films that tend to glamorize the police fighting crime. Here, Emilie, a woman in a boring marriage, in charge of the station, shows signs of lust after one of her subordinates. The plot, as well as the direction brings things into perspective.
Marie-Laure Descouriaux makes an impression as Emilie. She shows an affinity for the woman she is playing with eyes that betray her in her lust for a younger man. Abdelhafid Metalsi makes a wonderful Jamil. Any film with Hiam Abass in it, cannot be bad. Ms. Abass plays the tough owner of an Arab cafe in an affair with Viard. As usual, Ms. Abass' take on Fati is one of the best things in the film. The excellent Olivier Marchal makes justice to his Viard.
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