In 1894, French Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a young promising officer, is degraded for spying for Germany, wrongfully convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil's Island. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, who is promoted to run the military counter-intelligence unit that tracked him down. But when Picquart discovers that secrets are still being handed over to the Germans, he is drawn into a dangerous labyrinth of deceit and corruption that threatens not just his honor but his life.Written by
Canon y mus
The film had the strongest opening weekend for Polanski in France in years with 386,000 tickets sold across 545 screens. In its first week of release it topped the box-office charts and sold over 501,000 tickets and in its second week it fell to a respectable 4th place, bringing its two-week-total to 887,000 tickets sold. For comparison: His 2002 Oscar winner The Pianist (2002) sold 1.8 million tickets during its whole run, 2013's Venus in Fur (2013) topped out at 264,000 tickets and 2017's D'après une histoire vraie (2017) only sold 110,000 tickets. Currently, the film has sold more then 1.5 million tickets in France, but it's still in release. See more »
Superb direction, acting, photography; gripping script could have been shorter
The great Polanski is back. This is the inventive and talented director of ROSEMARY'S BABY and THE TENANT returning in style, after a series of minor and forgettable films since CHINAOWN (US 1974).And he does it without the gore of THE TENANT, but certainly with the pervasive terror of ROSEMARY'S BABY -- not because this is a horror occult movie but rather because of the immanent terror embodied by the power of government, and its underhand ways to hold on to power and avoid damage to its image, even if it means wrongly accusing a man of high treason, dishonorably discharging him from military service, and condemning him to an undeserved and long prison sentence.
Polanski has Jewish blood in his veins but, to his credit. he does not turn J'ACCUSE into a study of anti-semitism, which would have been too easy. Picquart (Dujardin) readily admits to Dreyfus at the start that he does not care for Jews but that that would not cause him to deliberately prevent a good soldier serving France to the best of his ability, regardless of racial background.
He lives up to his word and to his conscience - not least because Picquart realizes that his own life is in danger and he has no option but expose the government's ignoble cover-up -- which ultimately rescues Dreyfus from, Devil Island and allows him to recover his good name.
Picquart is superbly played by Dujardin but the entire cast is in top form.
J'ACCUSE also has the great merit of recreating the atmosphere of Paris in the late 19th Century. The attention paid to interiors, door knobs and bells, phaetons and other vehicles of the time, and the cobblestone streets, is awesome.
I certainly recommend J'ACCUSE as a much better than average history lesson, as a social comment that applies to today as it does to France about 130 years ago. It avoids making value judgements, preferring instead to present facts and letting the viewer interpret them. 10/10
48 of 72 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this