True heroines are borne not always from enflamed passion, but from a dire need to make things right. Excruciating memories haunt our heroine Justine Maxence in "MR 73" (2008, in French, aka "The Last Deadly Mission") to the point she can no longer tolerate the thought - that the human devil who raped, tortured, and then murdered her mother in front of her - while she was yet a child - then tortured and murdered her father - all done throughout the night - will be released from prison on good behavior. This nightmare now encompasses her every thought. We wait upon her words. Her suffering ignites all levels of compassion and empathy for us. Her character is linked by a common plot thread to her drunken knight (a police detective who investigated her parents' murder many years before). Her unlikely garde du corps will protect her, her family, and her baby. But he has to exit his own hell first; he has to pick up the pieces of his dissipated life, visit his paralyzed wife once more, and finish his own investigation. This is serious plot tension for those of us who desire a strength, precision, and depth in a movie thriller and tragedy.
We have the feminine soul in torment with the young pregnant woman Justine (brilliantly played by Olivia Bonamy). We have the masculine soul in torment with the self-destructing homicide detective Schneider (superbly played by renowned French actor Daniel Auteuil). In this graphic `investigating serial killings' crime thriller, replete with subtle nuances of plot progression, character depth (especially our two tormented souls), chilling acts of torture & murder - all encased in a tightly-woven storyline with the refined hand of a masterful writer/director (Olivier Marchal).
Once Justine's husband leaves her, once she supposedly sets in motion her own death by sending her photograph and a note to the `soon to be released killer of her parents', we assume the worse. The psychotic master criminal (Charles Subra, played with cold terror by Philippe Nahon) pretends to be 'reformed & redeemed by God' to get out of prison; we know he will find Justine to torture and kill her as a final act of evil (his deadly legacy). This dramatic irony, the work of another serial killer of women on the loose, the corruption of a high ranking police officer, the noble friendships between the survivors of overlapping tragedies - these storylines weave intricately together toward our final denouement in Act III, Scene 3.
The lines of fire have been drawn. The plot can only be extinguished by brutal acts of retribution, a mercy killing, and a 'freeing of Justine's very soul from her torment and fear'. Tension builds with clarity - even as thoroughly dissipated Detective Schneider pursues first one serial killer then the other one; all the while drawn into a web of police corruption, he displays his own noble obligation to rescue three women, Justine, his paralyzed wife, and his former lover/fellow police officer (Marie Angéli, played with sensitivity and depth by Catherine Marchal). One has to watch this excellent movie to appreciate it to the fullest.
Highly recommend this film to those who enjoy high-end thrillers with a solid storyline. The scenes of torture in its aftermath may offend the sensitivities of some persons.