It's been a while since the last convincing french spy movie, and "State Affairs" might open a new era, as Olivier Marchal's "36, Quai des Orfèvres" did for french police thrillers.
The pace is a typical french one for a spy movie, as in the great "Le silencieux" by Claude Pinoteau or the stunning "Espion, lève-toi" by Yves Boisset.
The investigation goes slowly on, piece by piece, and all of them matters. The background intrigue is settled in Africa, where French soldiers are held hostages by rebel forces in Congo. The shadow "Mr. Africa" for the french Presidency, Victor Bornand, wonderful André Dussolier, has to deliver weapons as ransom to free the hostages, but the plane delivering the cargo is shot down somewhere over Congo. Bornand will then have to find who's trying to burn him with this potential scandal, in the middle of the presidential campaign.
From these premises, we follow a young police officer, Rachida Brakni (delivering a bluffing performance), who's investigation on the murder of a young woman leads to a particular "Madame", manager of a very select escort-agency. Who happens to be intimate with our Mr. Africa.
Third destiny, the one of a former member of the french secret services (DRI - new agency born from the merging of DGSE and DST after 9/11), Fernandez - very convincing Thierry Frémont - that works now as a hit-man for Bornand.
Those three will see their paths crossing, with a score that reminds of old Italian westerns such as the famous "Django" movies or Ennio Morricone's score for "Espion, lève-toi".
The cinematography is efficient and beautiful, night scenes are especially good, as the superb run across Montmatre near the end. Both editing and dialogues are flawless, leading us through corruption, murder, dirty state secrets' and struggle for power and surviving.
9/10 because of some unnecessary pathos.
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