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Michaël R. Roskam
Eric De Staercke
Great Story but poor execution in this French drama
This is a period piece set in Paris of 1899. Political change is rampant throughout Europe and new ideas are being propagated as an alternative to the many broken societies and the vast gulf between the haves and have nots. The anarchists were and indeed are such a 'group' if that is indeed the right noun of assemblage.
Tahir Rahman ('A Prophet' and 'The Cut') plays Jean Albertini; an educated policeman who gets chosen to go undercover and expose the dark underbelly of the anarchists in Paris. He takes to his new role like a duck to water. Amongst his new comrades are Judith Lorillard played by the sultry Adèle Exarchopoulos ('Blue is the warmest colour') and a very aggressive Guillaume Gouix playing Eugène Levèque an alpha male who wants to take the struggle to the next level – confrontation.
Now this plays out in a linear format and as well as the politics, personal strife's and some very well acted scenes this should be a rollicking good adventure. However, it just lacks oomph and moments of high drama seem to almost fizzle out before they get under way. This could be down to the direction from Elie Wajeman who brought us 'Aliyah' which was a fairly good, but unreported, film. It is not down to the acting and the script looked pretty much spot on. That said this is still a reasonable watch but more above average rather than the blast it could and possibly should have been given the talent on display here.
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