The Malakian clan, a family of ruthless gangsters, controls the underworld of Southern France. At its head, the violent godfather Milo Malakian rules his world with an iron fist. His son ...
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The Malakian clan, a family of ruthless gangsters, controls the underworld of Southern France. At its head, the violent godfather Milo Malakian rules his world with an iron fist. His son and heir, Anton, dreams of breaking free and making his own choices. But the gang's inner circle is engraved in blood. To escape, not only does Anton have to counter his own destiny, but also the man who has sworn to bring his father down.Written by
Men in Black: not great, but a stylish crime thriller
Despite the Armenian church service and the historical introduction, the ethnic theme is a bit weak (and do the Armenians in real life actually have their own mafiosi?), and this hasn't the richness of Melville, or 'The Godfather,' or Téchiné's 'Les Voleurs.' But this film is satisfying precisely for the qualities that cause some to dismiss it: it's understated, elegant, and sensually pleasing, with beautiful images and a musical accompaniment far above genre and cool, classy criminals who project a sense of being fearless and professional. This is the kind of stylish European crime film with sleek cars, sunlit villas, and drives along the Riviera that you can enjoy for the atmosphere as much as anything else. Everyone dresses in black. Sami Bouajila's cop too (Bouajila the actor also himself a consummate professional, very solid here); his black outfits are just a bit dustier and shabbier. Gaspard Ulliel grows up here from most of his earlier roles (after already having become macho and heroic as the peasant hero of the 2007 'Jacquou le croquant') slicking his hair back, bulging out of his designer clothes, peering over his designer shades. Both he and Réno show very little emotion, projecting instead the dedication of stoical members of a tight clan. I don't know if you can believe Antona's plan of breaking away. How is he supposed to do that by taking over a hotel in the Camargue set up by somebody his father works with, right under his nose, and without the money for the down payment? This is less convincing and less well developed than something like Thomas Seyr (Romain Duris) wanting to become a concert pianist in Audiard's 'The Beat My Heart Skipped'. But this to me is like the beautiful, elegant 1957 'No Sun in Venice' ('Sait-on jamais'), directed by Roger Vadim, which a user wisely said is "worth it for the music and the visuals." Only 'Le premier cercle' ('The Ultimate Heist,' sadly generic title) doesn't have a classic sound track by the Modern Jazz Quartet. 'Le premier cercle' also relates to the Marseilles-based "Frank Riva" TV trilogy starring the aging, mellower Alain Delon. But 'Le premier cercle' is more stylish and restrained. It lets you wallow in cool.
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