Les Lyonnais (2011) Poster


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Tense and violent French thriller with intense drama , wonderful acting and spectacular action scenes
ma-cortes16 August 2014
Thrilling and intelligent thriller about a powerful thief gypsy , now retired and living peacefully . A stylish , complex movie driven by a main character , dealing with a known delinquent called Edmond Vidal, aka Momon (Gerad Lanvin) whose life radically changes when appears an old friend and he would like to forget that part of his life . After growing up in a poor gypsy camp , Momon, a known robber has retained a sense of family , honesty , camaraderie , unfailing loyalty and pride in his origins . Proud Momom is 60 years old and a veteran leader of a band called Les Lyonnains . Most of all, he has remained friendship with Serge Suttel . The two of them created a dangerous gang who carried out bold robberies . The team they formed, inevitably got involved in organized crime , they are called the Gang Des Lyonnais, made them the most famous armed thieves of the early 1970s . Their irresistible rise and sudden fall ended in 1974 with a surprising arrest by a denouncement proceeded by a traitor . Today nears 60 , he has found peace by retiring from the "business" and taking part in weddings , parties and family celebrations . He protects to his spouse Janou (Valeria Cavalli) , who suffered so in the past a penalty in prison , and to his children and grandchildren , all of whom have great respect for this person of simple and universal values, so clear-headed and full of loyalty , friendship , comradeship and kindness . But then there appears Serge Sutte (Tchéky Karyo) , who has disowned nothing of his past, as he comes back into his quiet life and emerges violence , pursuits , betrayal and relentless vendetta .

This exciting film contains action , violence , thrills , treason , suspense and plot twists . Top-notch thriller in which nothing is the way it seems , the atmosphere is already tense and the twists and turns are the best part of this movie . In other ways, it feels like a tribute to ¨Polar¨ genre or French Noir Cinema , full of attractive characters and edge-of-your-seat intrigue . The story is narrated by means of flashbacks about past and present , realizing a complex as well as interesting crossover . The film was noteworthy for casting some of the finest actors in France . Exceptional acting by Gerard Lanvin as Momon , a notorious criminal who would like to forget that part of his life , as he has found peace by retiring from the "business" and sensational Tchéky Karyo as Serge Suttel, with whom he first discovered prison life - for stealing cherries . The film was dedicated to Bernard Giradeau , a good French actor who played several Noir flicks . Good production design , the prison seen in the film is actually a combination of three filming locations : the exteriors are that of the real prison, and the other interiors . The picture achieved big success and was nominated various prizes César and considered to be one of the best thrillers of the year in which you'll leave the cinema shaken and moved . Excellent soundtrack by Erwann Kermorvant that elevates the emotion and the intensity of the scenes to new heights . Colorful as well as evocative cinematography filmed on location in La Boisse, Ain, La Valbonne, Balan, Ain, France , Tassin-la-Demi-Lune, Rhône, Rhône-Alpes, France and Lyon, Rhône, Rhône-Alpes, France .

Olivier Marchal did a formidable job with Les Lyonnais (2011) . He then wrote the first draft of the screenplay himself, and so on ; being based on Edmond Vidal book titled "Pour Une Poignée de Cerises¨ . Olivier is a notorious writer/director and he formerly was a police officer . As Olivier Marchal started taking acting lessons when he still was a police officer. He began his career in television, appearing in supporting parts or writing scripts for detective TV series. In 1989 when Yves Rénier resurrected his TV series Commissaire Moulin (1976) he became his partner as scriptwriter, series supervisor and sometimes actor . In 2000 he starred as Commandant Pierre Rivière in his own TV series "Police district" (1999), written by novelist Hugues Pagan, himself also a former police officer . Olivier Marchal , an actor/writer/director has directed sensational French thrillers , just like "36th Precinct" , ¨Diamond 13¨, ¨Mr73¨ as good as this and ¨Gangsters¨ .
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A gang story
kosmasp12 December 2012
A french thriller with terrific actors in the main roles. It is quite predictable all along (the main twist is something you should have figured out sooner rather than later), but the actors make it more than enjoyable to watch.

The suspense is still sustained throughout the movie, which has to do with the settings, the framing and the editing of the movie. Good work has been done in those departments. There's some violence in this movie, but it's not relishing in it. The morals might also be something you have trouble with identifying. A more than solid effort that is not only for Euro thriller lovers
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How badass is your grandfather?
Coventry24 May 2016
The only possible answer to the question raised in this user comment's subject line is simple and straightforward, namely: nowhere near as badass as grandpa Edmon 'Momon' Vidal in "Les Lyonnais"! Or any of his fellow gang buddies, for that matter! "Les Lyonnais" is inspired by the true story and memoirs of Momon Vidal; the poor son of gypsy parents who built himself up to the leader of a feared gang that committed numerous of violent armed robberies in the Lyon region during the sixties and early seventies. However, all the crimes and trials of that era are narrated and illustrated through flashbacks, as the film primarily takes place in 2010 and opens at the baptism party of Momon's grandson. For the past 25 years he has lived a luxurious and relatively honest life, but now his oldest and dearest friend Serge is in trouble. Serge is apprehended by the police, but prison is full of henchmen of the crime boss that he double-crossed. Since friendship is the most important value to Momon, he organizes a plan to help Serge even though he very well realizes this will bring him right back to his old criminal habits. Given the nature of the plot, protagonist characters and a handful of significant sequences (like for example the baptism), "Les Lyonnais" is inevitably reminiscent to "The Godfather" and – like many other reviews so unmistakably state clear – not as good. Yeah well, so what? Hardly any movie is as good as "The Godfather", but that doesn't stand in the way of "Les Lyonnais" being an extremely intense and absorbing thriller with many brutal sequences, tight atmosphere and stellar performances. The main trumps of the film, apart from the charismatic ensemble cast, are the realistic brotherhood portrayals and the swift transitions between the gang's activities in the '60s and present day. During the flashbacks, being a criminal and kick- starting violent gang wars is glorified quite blatantly, but the script also clearly criticizes the contemporary French juridical system. Momon and Serge initially just were two harmless young troublemakers, but they rolled into the criminal life after they were sentenced to six months in prison for stealing a handful of cherries (which aptly also is the title of Edmond Vidal's memories). The flashbacks are the most entertaining parts of the film, since they seem to come straight out those primarily Italian & French euro-crime/Poliziotteschi movies from the seventies; which happens to be my favorite cult cinema sub- genre. You know, exhilarating chases in crummy old cars, characters with gigantic mustaches, harsh drive-by shootings and relentless executions in the middle of crowded streets! The scenes set in the present day are much more sophisticated and dramatic, but they are still fast-paced and loaded with suspense. Gérard Lanvin gives away a downright phenomenal performance as Vidal, and he's brilliantly backed up by Tchéky Karyo and Daniel Duval.
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God and Momon
writers_reign25 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
For about a reel and a half I thought Olivier Marchal had blown it; this new film wasn't living up to 36 Quai des Orfevres or MR73. Then all at once it blossomed before our eyes and took its rightful place in the Marchal pantheon. This was due in no small measure to Gerard Lanvin who I have yet to see give a bad performance. Lanvin is almost unique among 'macho' actors in that he can convey sadness and toughness at one and the same time. Here he plays a real person, one still very much alive and he does so superbly. Recently acting joke Vincent Cassell was called upon to portray a real character - also a gangster - and was light years short of Lanvin's performance here which is incandescent. If I single out Lanvin it is because he is the only member of the cast who stands an outside chance of being known in the UK - he also does comedy, see: Camping - but Marchal has cast his film well and the entire cast acquit themselves well. See it as soon as you can.
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amazing crime thriller
I expected a lot from this film as Lanvin and Karyo are big names in cinema no matter where you live. It surpassed my expectations by miles. The dialog is thought provoking, the plot contains enough twists to keep you hooked, but does so with finesse rather than going over the top. All the actors/actresses are well cast at no point did I feel anyone was in the wrong part or unconvincing. The action was perfectly balanced with the plot, too much would have spoiled it, too little and it wouldn't be much of a crime film. The settings were good, as was the style in which it was filmed. I don't want to describe the story as I think it's so good that it is worth watching with no preconceptions. For me a standout film, one of the best I have seen in a long time and the director should be applauded. Its subtitled but they were flawless and at no point did it occur to me that the lack of English sound was a problem. I would heartily recommend watching.
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Wow, what a great movie!
enteredapprenticering3 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The stunning performance of Gérard Lanvin as Momon Vidal makes this a must-see movie. Not a single second passes where the viewers would not be taken right into the story. This movie has it all, but the most remarkable and reminding scene is, when the character Momon Vidal defines male friendship as something "holy". Any man, who sees this movie will go into his own mind and search for his own holy friendships, if these two words actually exist as plural. Looking back on his 50 years of friendship between the characters Momon and Serge, Momon actually finds out, whether his philosophic ideal of a "holy male friendship" actually exists or if it doesn't. Watch the movie and find out what great story Edmond Vidal has given us viewers as a marvelous gift. My vote: 9 out of 10, absolutely worth every second.
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The best french gangster movie of all times.
searchanddestroy-130 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Awesome, outstanding, terrific, I can't find more words to describe this masterpiece. Olivier Marschell improves every film he offers us. The quality he puts in each of his films increases more and more. I tasted this film like a glass of hot honey milk. So goood !!!

We find here, at last, the real french HEAT. Yes, folks, for me, it's the best gangster from France ever made; at least since Jean Pierre Melville's times...And it's signed by the man who allowed the french crime movie industry to be born again after a twenty years death, since the early 80's - and Jean Claude Missaien's films - and the early 2000's and the arrival of Olivier Marschall.

Actors such Gerard Lanvin, Tcheky Karyo, Daniel Duval, have really nothing more to prove to anyone. Their performances here are absolutely unforgettable, far beyond you may imagine. You live a storm of emotion, thrills and also action sequences very brutal, not for the sissies. The story about friendship, treason, manhood and honour is heartbreaking to the far inside of yourself. I wept many times during the watching of this film. Everything is made at such a rate as I can hardly realize it. I probably made a dream...This film doesn't exist.

Thanks to Olivier Marschall, who knew how to bring so much fresh air to the french movie industry.

Thanks a billions times, Mr Marschall.
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Good Story this Gang Story
Richie-67-48585218 August 2015
Entertainment at the highest levels of engagement. All the emotions are triggered and captured over and over again as we visit with 35 years of a friendship that was tested to the limits. Did it or does it hold is one good question. When it comes to crime, one never knows what to expect as crime doesn't play by the rules but by its own rules. One has to remember that as violent as a gang wants to be, there is always someone more violent that wants to prove that point. Both are motivated but only one can prevail. Everyone knows the police are restricted, dumb and don't catch on quickly, but what if they are not? Furthermore, what about human nature which proves to be unreliable time and again when things get dicey. Good acting, tense direction, clear cut story that makes several points and then does one good thing. It lets you be the judge of the outcome. This is as it should be. Tasty drink and finger foods recommended and this draws you in so no distractions to interfere with that or you will ruin the ten rating for yourself
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Must See,
samanguiano22 September 2012
Its not your typical mob movie with guns blazing. It takes us back to when gangs had a code of honor and integrity. Loyatly is what kept this gang a close knit family. You actually want the bad guys to win is how good this film is. Brings you in that much. The gang leader has a heart and his friends will give there lives to him with no questions asked rather than see it as a sign of weakness. Every actor seems to fit there part perfect. It has revenge which i love in movies. It also stresses if you mess with his family you will pay the price with your life. I really believe this deserves a higher rating than what it received by far.
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Reversal of Fortunes!
spookyrat12 February 2019
The irony of an ex-cop Olivier Marchal, co-writing, directing and acting in a somewhat true tale of real life French criminal Edmond Vidal aka Momon is something some, like me will find irresistably attractive. Surprisingly, although we are left in no doubt that Vidal and his compatriots are mired in the underworld and its sins, this film paints quite a sympathetic and humanistic portrait of its central players.

There is nothing really original about Gang Story (including the title). It's a story we've seen before (rise and fall of a career criminal and his associates), told in a semi-linear style combining plentiful flashbacks to pivotal past moments with present day events (The Godfather Part 2 and Goodfellas). Marchal frequently acknowledges and pays homage to Coppola and Scorsese throughout the film, but I personally would have preferred to have seen him, as Coppola does, use longer sequences before changing time periods. It does get unsettling, if not annoying and confusing, when some of these intercut scenes last all of 10 seconds, before changing time periods. I also would have appreciated an elaboration on the childhood relationship between Momon and Serge, which I think would have strengthened the story even more. Onscreen, it's all over within a minute, before we move on to when they were young adults. And the storyline to this movie, is its real appeal; the bonds of loyalty between crime boss and sidekick stretching over generations and examining how far those bonds can be stretched, before risking permanent dislocation. Gerard Lanvin (Momon) and Tcheky Karyo (Serge) are well cast in the contemporary lead roles, though the film, as mentioned earlier is seen from the former's perspective.

The film claims to be based firmly on true events and characters, though I have no idea how close to reality, the depicted events actually are. For all of that, Marchal presents a story, that is never less than compelling, culminating in a climax, which, while some may have predicted, is nevertheless full of pathos and feeling. Gang Story is worth your acquaintance.
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Excellent Film of Gangsters
claudio_carvalho5 June 2022
When the notorious gangster Serge Suttel (Tchéky Karyo) is captured by the French police, his middle-aged best friend Momon Vidal (Gérard Lanvin) meets with his retired friends to organize Serge's prison break. Momon also recalls the beginning of his friendship with Serge, when he was a bullied gypsy boy and how Serge had protected him. Later, Momon worked as a gangster for a powerful mobster and learnt how to plan heists. Then he organized his own Lyon Gang with Serge and his friends, and they have become weaalthy. In the present days, he is a powerful retired mobster, married with his beloved Janou Vidal (Valéria Cavalli) with a son and grandchildren. The rescue of Serge Suttel brings problems he had buried in the past, and now compromises his old friends and his family. But Momon also learns secrets from the past.

"Les Lyonnais" is an excellent film of gangsters, where the lead character Momon Vida is a powerful retired thieve highly respected by his honor and loyalty even by the French Chief of Police. His peaceful present life is disturbed, when his best friend Serge Suttel is arrested by the police. The story is presented in flashbacks in a magnificent screenplay, until Momon discloses a hidden secret from the past in the very ending. The direction and the performance are also top-notch, in this magnificent film. Probably the best film I have watched this year on a DVD bought a long time ago. In the end, another excellent French film. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Pacto de Sangue" ("Pact of Blood")
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Decent gangster "mate" type flic
peru1-595-63010613 October 2013
I was not as enthralled with this movie as other reviewers.

Technically beautifully filmed---the use of constant flashbacks through out the movie makes for constant abrupt changes--not my favorite style of story line.

The positives = the acting is good/Lanvin in the lead as Momon Vidal a gangster whose "mate" from their heyday in the 70s is being hunted by a mobster.

Momon helps him out because of "mate" gangster honor. According to the story De Gaulle used thugs to rob money for his political needs--one I had never heard. ?? Possible I suppose. The use of ethnic gypsy (Roman) material is not syrupy PC and over done a plus.

Has the requisite number of quick shot em up scenes that would require the marksmanship of an Olympic gold medalist. You know the angry good gangster enters a restaurant and picks off half a dozen bad gangsters in as many shots.

Also a few twists including the denouement to keep you interested.

It is good quality crafted entertainment maybe even a 7.5

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Didn't met my expectations
Luigi Di Pilla7 March 2015
I found this film ordering some DVDs on Amazon. I thought the high votes should warrant for a solid thriller but this time I was wrong. Why? The first twenty to thirty minutes I could have done a meal in the kitchen. The introduction of the characters of these gangsters took too long in my opinion. I have to admit that the atmosphere and the flashbacks into the 60ies or 70ies are well built. I felt really back in this time. Then the young and older actors did a fine job. What I missed is a fast paced story. Perhaps this was not so easy to create because it is finally a true event. The music was very original and top. For all these reasons my expectations haven't been met. 6/10.
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The two contrasts add a lot to the film.
yoggwork20 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The beginning is very dull, but with more and more stories in the past, the content of the whole film is gradually enriched. When decades of friendship were filled with memories, it was conceivable to pierce and tear it with a knife, but the man just handed him over to the police. The two contrasts add a lot to the film.
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cliche on top of cliche on top of....
maccdt4 January 2021
It's like the writer/director decided to cobble together every tired rags to riches criminal gang story you ever saw, throw in an obvious double cross or two, add in a police subplot or two nobody with a brain could ever believe, and couple that with endless boring flashbacks to relieve the tedium of the present time, so the lead actor Lanvin can stop suffering a little from the walking hemorrhoid he seems to have decided would be his main character's trait.

A complete waste of time, with usually interesting Karyo sleep walking through the movie like he wanted to be invisible so as not to have the producer ask him for his salary back.

Note to casting: if you want to cast an actor as younger version of the lead, try to at make them at least have the same hair texture and facial features.

Utter waste of time garbage film.
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