|Index||3 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was not surprised by this film. I expected that. No more no less. I
love french political thrillers; better than American ones, which are
always politically correct, with bad guys vs goods guys scheme, good
happy endings, and useless love stories between lead characters.
It's very difficult to summarize such a movie. Nearly every body is crooked, corrupted, fierce and ruthless. No warmth between them, except some no said friendship. I could describe that as a sort of a hank of stories, where every one wants to get rid of another. It's very well described, edited and acted. Frémont is terrific as a ruthless hired killer. The female cop - an Arab - gives also here a powerful performance.
Action sequences are brutal, bloody, very percussive, and talkative ones useful for a good understanding of this captivating tale.
As SECRET DEFENSE, I commented last year, it shows how politicians are rotten and ordinary people expendable.
A little masterpiece. A real gem.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
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.
Eric Valette seems the very definition of a hit-and-miss director,
making his reputation with the French horror Malefique that was almost
entirely confined to a prison cell and then losing it with the American
remake of Japanese horror One Missed Call, capable of turning in a
superbly directed chase thriller with The Prey and a conspiracy
thriller as flat as Une Affaire d'État aka State Affairs. It's not
entirely without promise as it follows the aftershocks of the shooting
down of a French plane delivering arms as a ransom for French hostages
in Africa whose fate could decide the next French election, with Andre
Dussolier's government fixer attempting to set up another delivery
without the press or the opposition finding out only to leave a trail
of dead bodies thanks to informers and incompetents working for him.
To keep things a bit more interesting than men in expensive suits having meetings in isolated places where they talk around the elephant in the room, the film introduces what's become the most overused cliché in French thrillers, the female cop who's harder than the men she works with but is completely devoid of any personality traits beyond scowling or turning down dates, partnered with Gérald Laroche's dead meat spaghetti western fan (and my doesn't the Maurizio Graf's rendition of Ennio Morricone's title song from The Return of Ringo get a lot of play in the film at the most inopportune moments). It doesn't help that Rachida Brakni is so relentlessly one-note and uncharismatic that you can't care about her one way or the other indeed, Thierry Frémont's hangdog-faced security man who keeps on finding himself murdering people to cover up accidentally killing a blackmailing prostitute is a far more intriguing presence. Dussolier's good value too in the kind of part he's played so many times in better pictures that he could probably do it in his sleep, but for the most part it's just a join the dots amble through the usual conspiracy clichés, professionally made but never much more than watchable and at times a bit dull. Still, at least at 95 minutes it's short.
|Plot summary||Ratings||External reviews|
|Official site||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|