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April 1988, Ouvea island, New Caledonia. 30 policemen held hostage by a group of Kanak separatists. 300 soldiers sent from France to restore order. 2 men face to face: Philippe Legorjus, captain of the GIGN and Alphonse Dianou, head of the hostage takers. Through shared values, they will try to win the dialogue. But in the midst of a presidential election, when the stakes are political, order is not always dictated by morality. Written by
Rebellion is a good hostage movie. It presents a refreshing balanced view of what taking hostage means, which is not without reminding Dog Day Afternoon. Like it, it depicts real life hostage takers, not as dehumanized machiavellian bad guys, but as relatively ordinary people making bad decisions and the unravelling of violence it unleashes.
But where Dog Day Afternoon, as an American movie, focuses on individual responsibility, Rebellion focuses on the reaction of society and its flaws, and this is where I have problems with the movie. I am not very familiar with that particular historical event, but the director, in its eagerness to show that violence could have been avoided, seems to give a bit quickly absolution to the hostage takers. They killed 4 innocent and unarmed policemen? Well, they regret, so it's OK to not surrender and even take more hostages. They make realistic demands, such as: "state officially that we are not terrorists or we kill the hostages" (!!), and intend to exploit their crime mediatically. What can be wrong with that?
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