Put in charge of his young son, Alain leaves Belgium for Antibes to live with his sister and her husband as a family. Alain's bond with Stephanie, a killer whale trainer, grows deeper after Stephanie suffers a horrible accident.
Nineteen year-old Franco-Arab Malik El Djebena is just starting his six year prison sentence in Brécourt. Although he has spent the better part of his life in juvenile detention, this stint is his first in an adult prison. Beyond the division of Corsicans and Muslims in the prison (the Corsicans who with their guard connections rule what happens in the prison), he has no known friends or enemies inside. He is just hoping to serve his time in peace and without incident, despite having no prospects once he's out of jail since he's illiterate and has no support outside of the prison. Due to logistics, the head of Corsican inmates, a sadistic mafioso named César Luciani, co-opts Malik as part of the Corsicans' activities, not only regarding what happens inside the prison, but also continued criminal activities outside. The innocent Malik has no idea what to do but cooperate. This move does not sit well with the other Corsicans, who only see Malik as a dirty Arab, and the Muslims who now ... Written by
The storyline of this film is well documented by other reviewers. I read the reviews at 2.30 this afternoon and by 5 PM I was in the local cinema. I wondered if I could survive 150 minutes but I found myself at the end wishing to know more, and rather regretting the end of this fascinating movie. I am not an expert review writer but I found the character portrayals so realistic that they nearly jumped out of the screen. Yes there is violence, bloody in parts, but it is so monumentally well filmed I could look away from the gore and towards the film as a work of art. If there was a mixture of amateur and professional actors, I could not tell the difference.
The names and functions of some of the various characters were lost on me but I got the general gist of it and I was motivated to consider the effect on the psychology of an unremitting regime of politics and violence. There is much food for thought here and I can unreservedly recommend it to all but the most squeamish.
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