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3.2 out of 5 stars18
3.2 out of 5 stars
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Frederic Schoendoerffer's French gangster movie Truands aka Paris Lockdown may not have much plot but, unlike his catastrophically dull and inert (if such a word could be used about a film mostly comprised of scenes of people walking) Agents Secrets, there's enough incident to compliment the ambiance. With its philosophising limited to the odd line like "To dodge a bullet you hold the gun," there's a satisfyingly unsentimental approach to its pragmatic criminal antiheroes, the violence brutal but the torture scenes not dwelled upon - the aim of the criminals is to get their message across as quickly as well as as painfully as possible. The emphasis on efficiency over grandstanding extends to the film's biggest setpiece, a well-staged but not too over the top shootout in a parking lot marred only by not knowing who is doing what to whom.

Olivier Marchal, ex-cop turned actor-director (36 Quai des Orfevres, MR 73) has the perfect face for a professional villain, which is enough to offset leading man Benoit's Magimel's occasionally unfortunate resemblance to British comedian Paul Whitehouse here, but the standouts in the cast are Philippe Caubere's crimelord whose arrest causes a dangerous power vacuum and Tomer Sisley's small-timer who's come out of jail with religion and a burning desire to stick it to the old school. It's not a great film and breaks no new ground, but it covers it pretty well, and there's a nice throwaway in-joke where one character watches one of the director's father's films, La 317ème Section.

The UK PAL DVD boasts a decent subtitled 2.35:1 widescreen transfer and includes a lengthy 52-minute documentary on the making of the film and the UK and international trailers for the film.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 28 August 2014
This single disc opens with two film trailers in English. Cutting to the main screen it offers play, scene selection and bonus -the bonus being a making of, an English trailer and international trailer. This is a brutal French thriller/action movie in which veteran kingpin Claude Corti (Phillipe Caubere) rules over his men with an iron fist, and through fear and respect he keeps the peace or dominates other Parisian gangs.
The film portrays an ultra stylish world of fast cars, plentiful drugs, expensive clothes and even more expensive women, but Corti makes sure that his soldiers are well rewarded for their loyalty. When Corti is arrested on minor charges and sentenced to prison, the streets become divided as greed and opportunity for advancement arises amongst his underlings and rivals alike.
The subtitles are surprisingly unobtrusive and for the most part you don't have to follow them too much -even if like me you don't understand French. The first twenty minutes or so follows Corti and his men as they go about their routines of striking deals, making bargains or simply enjoying what money can buy them. Unlike most films of this type, Conti has his fingers in so many pies from counterfeiting, gun running, white slavery, drug dealing, extortion and even legitimate business enterprises. Violent and racist, it tackles many taboo subjects from drug taking, murder, torture and rape in a refreshing unsentimental manner and you get sucked into the characters lifestyle and find yourself sympathising or despising them at various times. The torture scenes are carried out in a graphic but brutally pragmatic manner that illustrates a business-like approach that is not found in Hollywood movies. Women in the film are treated and viewed as possessions to be used and abused by the men of the movie and almost all are either prostitutes, strippers or erotic dancers. Politically Correct this isn't and it easily offends the sensitive.
Why **** stars, because some of the editing seems rather abrupt and other scenes such as an early shoot-out introduce so many new actors that you find it impossible to distinguish which gang is which. Recommended on the condition you don't mind subtitles, bad language or graphic violence
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on 17 March 2013
Cool French gangster film with some great gut wrenching torture scenes.You'll be hooked after the first 10 minutes.GREAT.Well worth a purchase.
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on 4 October 2009
Gangster world - violence, sex, betrayal, murders - the French style with its characteristics of nake truth and horrifying reality. I guess what is portrayed here is nothing more than what's actually happening in the underground world. More important is this movie has a storyline and the characters that you graduately learn to know them as human beings with hate, love, just as in real life. Feel the pain, the brutal dynamic cycle in a Paris underworld. A portray of the major players in an underground world not found in Hollywood movies.
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on 31 July 2008
As a lover of French gangster films, I suppose that I have been spoilt by the Gallic masterpieces of the past with films like Rififi, Bob le Flambour, Touchez par au Grisbi and Le Cercle Rouge. I live in hope that one day I will see a French crime film which matchs up to these classics, the way that Goodfellas and Casino compaire with the classic American Film Noirs of the forties and fifties. So far films like La Balance and 36 Quai des Orfevres have come close but do not quite make it.

I watched Paris Lockdown in the hope that this was the one. I was disapointed, Paris Lockdown needs graphic violence by the bucketfull in order to get accross it's point that these men are violent. We know they are violent, they are gangsters, we do not need to be shown it every five minutes.

Compaire this blood drenched film with Touchez par au Grisbi, we know that Riton is a man not to mess with by the simple way he slips a gun into his belt.

What ultimatly lets this film down however is that you cannot identify with any of the main figures. In the classics, Max (Grisbi), Toni (Rififi) and Bob (Bob le Flambour) may have been violent criminals but they had a code. There were lines they did not cross and above all they were loyal to their friends. In Paris Lockdown nobody is loyal to anything except themshelves. One gangsters says he does not mind killing his friend because another gangster asked him first. Paris Lockdown may be a truer portrait of the French underworld than the romanitised classics from the fifties, but it does not make better cinema.

If you judge your films on the amount of violence and sex, and in this film most of the sex is violent, then this is for you. If you want something a bit more then go back to Rififi, Grisbi etc.
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on 18 July 2013
This is one of those movies that when purchasing you are unsure what to expect or whether you are going to enjoy or not. It is a gripping movie filled with realistic violence and good action scenes. Has English subtitles. Good purchase. Sent within delivered time frame.
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on 26 July 2009
I brought this film expecting something full of non-stop action, as described in the blurb. In reality we get about 20 minutes at the start,and next its around an hour of the characters just chatting away.

The torture scenes are also horrific, dont get me wrong, ive seen some pretty bad things in cinema, but the torture scenes in this film go way beyond what should be shown in film. Like the gauging of the eyes out of this chap whilst his leg is being drilled into, so much more horrific than Driller Killer.

All in all, a truly poor film, the blurb overates this film. The gore ruins this film and the rape scene insn't too special either.
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on 29 December 2013
I'm a big fan of french cinema, so I thought I'd take a chance and ignore all the bad reviews - my mistake, this is a turkey of a movie, and really quite offensive when it comes to the violence
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on 5 November 2008
If you liked Dobermann, perhaps this movie is for you. A solid hard boiled film in french salsa. No policeman (flics ...) bad or good, only a group of gangsters very, very bad. Some (violent) sex scenes, some high velocity lead exchanges (like De Niro's and Al Pacino's Heat). A simple plot, a "minor" cast. The result: a "decent" movie, not a masterpiece.
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VINE VOICEon 22 September 2008
I agree with the other reviewer that this film is somewhat reliant on the violence/action to keep it going but that's not enough. The film centres upon a gang of criminals all working for the same boss. When he is imprisoned the gang members make their own plans to carve up the empire which puts them against one another. There is nothing original or ground breaking here and has a rather flat feel to it. Benoit Magimel gives his usual strong performance as one half of a gun for hire partnership whilst the character of the crime boss (whose empire they squabble over)turns in a couple of funny moments but nothing makes this film stand out and it cannot compare with other french crimes thrillers such as 36.
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