When Gino meets racing driver Bénédicte, it's love at first sight. Passionate. Unconditional. Fiery. But Gino hides has a secret. The kind of secret that can endanger your life and the lives of those ones around you. Gino and Bénédicte will have to fight against fate, reason and their own weaknesses to save their love.Written by
Gigi and Bibi. It sounds like two cartoon characters, but in fact they are the nicknames of Gino and Bénédicte, the two leads in Michael R. Roskam's new movie 'Le Fidèle'.
Already in the first five minutes of the film, Gigi and Bibi fall in love. This love affair is the main theme of the film. It's not an easy affair, since Bibi is the daughter of a wealthy business man, who supports her race car driving career, while Gigi doesn't have any relatives and earns a living by robbing banks and cash transit vans.
At first, Gigi hides his real occupation and pretends to be a car salesman. When he no longer can hide the truth, he is quick to point out that they both have a lot in common, in spite of their different backgrounds. He likes the risk-taking and the danger that comes with his job, exactly as she does with hers.
For Belgian moviegoers, the film has an extra appeal. Roskam has based his story on the lives of a well-known gang of criminals, who were household names in the 1990's. They captured the attention of the media and the public at large, because they combined extremely audacious and violent robberies with a glamorous lifestyle.
Roskam shows in this movie how such brutal criminals could at the same time be loving husbands and friends. Gigi loves Bibi, and he is extremely loyal to his criminal friends, but he has no respect for the feelings of his victims. Matthias Schoenaerts plays this complex character very convincingly, and Adèle Exarchopoulos is quite effective as the slightly naive girl whose love for Gigi is unconditional.
The last part of the film is different from the rest. The love affair, having been firmly established, is no longer the central theme. Instead, we see a quick succession of increasingly dramatic events, which sometimes feels a bit exaggerated. But the beautiful end scene compensates for this. This long take is technically simple, but very clever and creative from a cinematographic point of view. And the very last shot even more so. It's these kinds of scenes that show how original a film maker Roskam can be.
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