Directed by Cedric Jimenez
HOME, 30 May 2015
The present film is a rather fine French crime drama, set in Marseille in the 1970s.
It begins with the appointment of Pierre Michel (Jean Dujardin), a prosecutor attached to a unit tackling organised crime. He goes after a drug gang led by an Armenian by name of Zampa (Gilles Lellouche). We watch the battle as it unfolds between the two men, the terrible attrition wrought on their lives and on those around them; for both men have families. As personalities, Michel and Zampa are not too dissimilar: both are driven, ruthless, needing to win.
Altogether, I found the fast-paced, frenetic direction and the meticulous attention to period detail captivating: this is a world where offices are without computers and where all men wear their sideburns long. One cop looks like a young James Caan, short black hair growing thickly and close to the skull. And the homage to Gene Hackman (an allusion to the famous scene where Popeye and partner take the impounded car apart and maybe as well to the end of The Conversation, where Hackman tears up his apartment trying to find the electronic bug) to be welcome and not too laboured.
At the end, corrupt politicians and cops are still in place, spouting about justice and order.
A film about duty, sacrifice and the futility of the same.