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State Affairs More at IMDbPro »Une affaire d'état (original title)

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

An exciting political thriller.

Author: GUENOT PHILIPPE (philippe.guenot@dbmail.com) from France
28 November 2009

*** 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.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A great french political thriller

9/10
Author: foutiroir from switzerland
21 June 2010

*** 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.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A join the dots amble through the usual conspiracy clichés

5/10
Author: TrevorAclea from London, England
1 November 2015

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.

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