Michael Mason, a pickpocket living in Paris, steals a bag with a teddy bear in it. Not realizing the toy contains a timed bomb, he tosses it aside on a busy street. A few seconds later it explodes, killing four people. CCTV footage reveals Mason's face and the French police tag him as a terrorist threat. The explosion, although botched, was set up by a select group of the French Interior Ministry as a decoy so they can make a half billion dollar digital transfer from a bank (closed on French National Day) -- hence the title Bastille Day. In a separate CIA investigation the unruly agent Sean Briar discovers the real story behind Mason's "terrorist attack". The two men, on different sides of the law, collaborate to bring the corrupt members of the Ministry down.Written by
Director James Watkins said of the movie's opening rooftop chase sequence: "We wanted to showcase Paris in this scene, but also introduce our two heroes and have a sense of the world in which they're in. It's early on in the film, so we're not sure who we're supposed to be rooting for and the points of view shift. Do we want Michael to get away? Do we want Briar to catch Michael? That's the whole nature of their journey together, this constant push-pull and the sense of their being opposed to finding some commonality. In terms of the shooting the rooftop chase, I wanted it to have a real pace and reality to it, so we built rooftop upon rooftop in Paris. I didn't want to do it through visual effects, so the backdrop that you see is a real backdrop of the city of Paris. We went back to really old-school traditions of Harold Lloyd and saying okay, how can we cheat this. I wanted to get that sense of pace on the rooftop so it was important to create a set the actors could really run along. And I wanted the vertiginous sense of the danger, a sense of 'Wow, this is one hell of a drop!'." Not only is the chase scene an exhilarating piece of action, but it's also a pivotal moment in the characters emotional narrative." See more »
MId-way through the film, one of the 'newscasters' refers to the 'Bastille day procession' - it's not a procession, it's a military parade. See more »
Idris Elba has been in big Marvel films like "Thor" and "Avengers: Age of Ultron", but I don't really know how he looked like without the Heimdall costume. He had a performance last year in the film "Beasts of No Nation" which triggered controversy when he was not nominated for an Oscar, but this was not shown locally. Just this year, he had been in two films, "Zootopia" and "The Jungle Book." However in both films, we only hear his deep imposing voice. With this film "Bastille Day," we finally see Idris Elba as a modern day action hero, not far from the news that he is being touted to be the next James Bond.
Michael Mason is a skillful American thief in Paris. One day, he steals a bag from a distraught girl on the street named Zoe. After getting her cell phone and seeing nothing else of apparent value in the bag, he throws it into a garbage dump. The unexpected happens, killing four people and triggering mass paranoia and discontent in the city of Lights. CIA operative Sean Briar goes over and beyond his assignment to get to Mason and secure him before the French Police do, uncovering an insidiously complex plot which will come to pass on Bastille Day.
Idris Elba is as imposing and impressive as his voice was. When asked why he ran away, Mason quipped, "Don't you see how you look like?" Elba's Briar was big, macho, tough and scary, anyone would have tried to run if he comes to get him. As an agent, Briar was an independent-minded and reckless rouge to the chagrin of his CIA bosses, but to the delight of the audience. If this was a preview of how he would be as James Bond, it makes us all eager to see how Elba will transform the iconic role as his own.
Richard Madden is more known to many as the ill-fated Robb Stark on HBO's "Game of Thrones". After he bid the TV series goodbye via a bloody Red Wedding, he went on to be Prince Charming in the live action version of "Cinderella." Physically, Madden looked like a scared boy when placed side by side with the intimidating Idris Elba, which made him just right for the role of the unfortunate Mason, a guy who just so happened to steal the wrong bag. I liked the chemistry that was built between the two characters.
I was floored by the action sequences of this film, so raw with bone- crunching realism. I liked that the chase and fight scenes were not too obviously choreographed. That chase scene on the rooftops would have been flawless parkour stunts in another film. But here it was shaky and so uncertain that it created so much tension, so much better. The execution of the many twists and turns of the story was very effectively done, such that we never would have seen the climax miles away. I would not mind a sequel as the ending seemed to suggest. 8/10.
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