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Consumed with grief and a silent rage over the loss of her teenage son who was killed in a hit-and-run, Diane, the devastated mother, takes the ferry across Lake Geneva to the spa town of Évian, in a desperate pursuit of the truth. Once there, the tragic mother armed with a well-concealed handgun and a graphic, yet incomplete description of the offending car will soon suspect that Marlène, the cryptic middle-aged salon owner, and her boyfriend, Michel, are somehow involved in the irremediable act. However, the path towards justice can be treacherous and serpentine, furthermore, will it make any difference finding the culprit behind the wheel?Written by
Featuring the legendary French actress Natalie Baye!
"Moka" (2016 release from France and Switzerland; 90 min.) brings the story of Diane. As the movie opens, Diane flees a care center of some sort, and gets back home in Lausanne (Switzerland), where she unexpectedly runs into Michel, her husband from whom she is separated. Mention is made of an accident and the lagging police investigation in France. Turns out that their teenage son perished in a hit-and-run accident some months ago. With the help of a PI, Diane has been able to make a shortlist of possible suspects who meet the criteria (big brownish-colored car from France, and a couple in the car, of which a blonde woman was the driver). Diane heads over Evian (France), on the other side of lake Geneva, determined to find those responsible for her son's death. At this point we're 10 min. into to the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: the (French) tag line of the movie is "What would you have done?", and that boils it down to the movie's essence: if your child had died in a hit-and-run and the police isn't doing enough to locate the perpetrators, what would you as a parent do? Writer-director Frédéric Mermoud adds a couple of parallel stories but in the end they are nothing more than a side bar to the movie. The movie is cast as a "thriller drama", but it is more drama (of the psychological kind) than it is a thriller. I was intrigued to see this for no other reason than seeing legendary French actress Natalie Baye, now a crisp 69 years young (and looking at least 10 years younger than that), here in the role of the blonde woman who may or may not have been the driver of the hit-and-run vehicle. The lead role of Diane is portrayed by Emmanuelle Devos. The movie was filmed on location and if you've been to the Lake Geneva area, you know that is a major plus. Bottom line: this was a pleasant film, but otherwise nothing earth-shattering or unique, featuring good acting performances and great scenery.
"Moka" opened this past weekend out of the blue and without pre-release hype or advertising at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. The Monday early evening screening where I saw this at was not attended well, but that is not surprising for a week day evening. If you are in the mood for a good 9without being revolutionary) foreign film, starring one of France's legendary stars, you cannot go wrong with this, be it in the theater (unlikely at this point), on VOD or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray.
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