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In Marseilles, the discredited and alcoholic Detective Schneider hijacks a bus and forces the bus driver with a gun to drive him home. He is arrested by the swat force and his washed up career in the police department practically ends. Schneider is removed from the investigation of a serial-killer that is committing hideous crimes against women and assigned to a bureaucratic work in the night-shift in the precinct. Through glimpses from his recollections, Schneider recalls the tragic accident that killed his daughter and left his wife attached to a life support system. Meanwhile, the sick criminal Charles Subra, who killed the parents of two girls many years ago, convinces the probation committee in the prison that he has found God and is regenerated and may be released. Justine, one of the daughters that survived, has never overcome the trauma of her loss and is worried with the possibility of the freedom of the criminal. When Schneider discovers the identity of the serial-killer, he...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Former cop Olivier Marchal presents us with a bleak picture of French cop on the end of the line. While things looked almost hopeless for the main character in his previous directorial work, 36, here they are utterly hopeless.
We meet Louis, a completely alcoholic cop who downs a bottle of whiskey a day, as he in a drunken stupor hijacks a bus full of people so that the bus driver can drive him home. Internal affairs gives him a break and assigns him to answer phones during night duty. Louis used to date one of the IA officers. He's in the middle of a serial killer investigation; the killer brutally rapes and kills women in their home. Even though he's off the case, Louis can't let go and continues to investigate. In fact, he solves the case and with his partner orchestrates a fantastically botched operation to apprehend the killer. This time around he's kicked off the force.
A parallel story involves a pregnant woman whose parents were killed 25 years ago. The killer, now an old religious man, is about to be paroled. She doesn't believe in his rehabilitation. It's only late in the film that we find out how this story connects to the main story. It was Louis who put the killer in jail. She now contacts Louis to inform him that the killer is out. And sure enough, the killer stalks and threatens the woman. Louis who at this point has nothing to lose decides to take on his last, personal, and very deadly mission with the help of a MR-73 a gun that belongs to his partner.
We are told that this is movie is based on real events and it would be interesting to find out what aspect of it is true. This seems to be a very personal movie for Marchal. Once again, as in 36, we are exposed not to the glamorous world of law enforcement but all the nastiness and corruption. We find out what drove Louis to alcoholism, a car accident left his wife in a semi-vegetative state and he has to take care of her. Marchal presents us a very realistic picture of the police force, where ego and testosterone make for a terrible combination. These cops rarely work as partners preferring to be each others' antagonists.
The movie is entertaining to see but there is a lot of room for improvement. Several parts of the pregnant woman's story are superfluous. A lot could have been improved via editing to make the movie shorter, tighter, to present these two stories in a more coherent and interesting way. There's only so much fun in watching a slow-mo train wreck unfold and Louis' life is an absolute wreck. I like Marchal's direction, it has a lot of style but is paced too slowly, this movie is more than 2 hours long and you feel every minute of it. I would have liked to see the serial killer story get more prominence, it ends too soon, meanwhile the woman's story is too drawn out, starting too early.
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