7.0/10
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23 user 47 critic

Le petit lieutenant (2005)

Unrated | | Crime, Drama | 16 November 2005 (France)
A rookie policeman from provincial Le Havre volunteers for the high pressure Parisian homicide bureau and is assigned to a middle-aged woman detective.

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4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Commandant Caroline "Caro" Vaudieu
Jalil Lespert ... Antoine Derouère
... Solo
Antoine Chappey ... Louis Mallet
... Le juge Serge Clermont
Bruce Myers ... L'Anglais
Patrick Chauvel ... Le lieutenant Patrick Belval
Jean Lespert ... M. Derouère, le père d'Antoine
Annick Le Goff ... Mme Derouère, la mère d'Antoine
Bérangère Allaux ... Julie Derouère, la femme d'Antoine
Mireille Franchino ... Mireille, la logeuse
Yaniss Lespert ... Alex Derouère, le frère d'Antoine (as Yanis Lespert)
... Nicolas Morbé
Philippe Lecompt ... Armurier
Pierre Aussedat ... Commissaire
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Storyline

When a fresh young police academy graduate from provincial Le Havre volunteers for the high pressure world of the Parisian homicide squad, his schoolteacher wife is reluctant to go with him. He moves into a rooming house that caters to single cops as he embraces his fellow officers as an extended family. He becomes close to an Arab officer and his boss, a very professional but lonely, middle-aged female detective who is also a recovering alcoholic. Routine police procedure gives way to an intensive search among the city's homeless for an undocumented Russian immigrant who may be responsible for a series of violent crimes. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

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Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

16 November 2005 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Le petit lieutenant  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Visa d'exploitation en France #111314 See more »

Goofs

Reflected in window as Vaudieu and Solo exit the church. See more »

Quotes

Mireille, la logeuse: [after Antoine introduces himself as Lieutenant Derouère] These days, it's "Lieutenant" and "Captain." It's too much like the Army. Not that I don't like the Army, but "Monsieur l'Inspecteur"... It makes me think of Maigret...
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Connections

References The 400 Blows (1959) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Competent French crime story, but Nathalie Baye is not Helen Mirren
27 November 2006 | by See all my reviews

A rookie detective discovers a world of woe chasing seriously dangerous immigrant Russian thugs in Paris and Nice in this competent French crime drama. His boss is a veteran female police commander making a comeback of sorts after alcoholism had blown her off course for a while. For her performance here as Commandant Caroline "Caro" Vaudieu, Nathalie Baye won her second César Award as Best Actress of 2006 (her first was in 1983 for "La Balance"); at 58, she is a veteran of roles in more than 75 films, and her turn here is very good, if not entirely convincing.

By pure coincidence, later, on the same day I saw this film, I watched the last episode of "The Final Act" on PBS's Masterpiece Theater. This presentation, purportedly the last production in the "Prime Suspect" series, starring Helen Mirren as Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison of New Scotland Yard, offers useful comparisons with the French film. "Prime Suspect," of course, set the gold standard for contemporary narrative crime films and has had a splendid 14 year run from 1992 to this past weekend.

The parallels between the protagonists in "Petit Lieutenant" and "Final Act" are extraordinary. Both chief detectives are older women who have suffered through grief, loss and the ravages of the bottle. Both have obvious streaks of vulnerability. And both have something important left to prove: each needs to redeem herself in police work after previous humiliating periods of compromised functioning.

What stands out most in the comparisons is that Mirren's DCI Tennison is tougher than she is vulnerable. She sustains the respect of the men on the force because she can be as brassy and authoritarian as the best of them. And they respect this, never questioning her orders. Miss Baye's Commandant Vaudieu, on the other hand, has a more impassive, retiring personality. And thus her character is less believable than Mirren's, less likely to have risen in the ranks to the very top of a demanding and decidedly tough, not to mention misogynistic, profession. Several actors on Vaudieu's police team are splendid, including Jalil Lespert (the rookie cop, Antoine), Roschdy Zem (Solo) and Antoine Chappey (Louis). (In French, Russian & Polish) My grades: 8/10, B+ (Seen on 11/25/06)


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