Having already seen the young Gaspard Ulliel perform so convincingly in "A Very Long Engagement", "The Last Day", "Summer Things", and recently (at the cinema) in "Paris, Je t'Aime", I bought this DVD to see how he performed opposite Emmanuelle Beart, the ever-youthful queen of French cinema. I was not disappointed, but neither was I blown-away by this moody WW2 drama.
Ulliel and Beart play their parts with characteristic style and concision, but alas the director could have made much more of the threatening aspect of their forest setting. There were numerous lost opportunities to heighten tension, and deepen character. For example, more could have been made of Ulliel's nocturnal wanderings, or even of the wanderings of others traipsing the roads of rural France, fleeing from the enemy. Also, the use of black-and-white documentary material could have been augmented by flashbacks of Ulliel's own poor life in the reformatory. The ambiguity at the film's end over the fate of Ulliel felt somewhat contrived, and by this time I was a little disappointed that Beart's character had not opened out into something more substantial.
But let me not detract from what is a good story, competently-told. It is an enjoyable film, that never loses fascination, and can be wholeheartedly recommended for an evening's viewing.