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A join the dots amble through the usual conspiracy clichés
on 23 October 2015
Eric Valette seems the very definition of a hit-and-miss director, making his reputation with the French horror Malefique that was almost entirely confined to a prison cell and then losing it with the American remake of Japanese horror One Missed Call, capable of turning in a superbly directed chase thriller with The Prey and a conspiracy thriller as flat as Une Affaire d’État aka State Affairs. It’s not entirely without promise as it follows the aftershocks of the shooting down of a French plane delivering arms as a ransom for French hostages in Africa whose fate could decide the next French election, with Andre Dussolier’s government fixer attempting to set up another delivery without the press or the opposition finding out only to leave a trail of dead bodies thanks to informers and incompetents working for him.
To keep things a bit more interesting than men in expensive suits having meetings in isolated places where they talk around the elephant in the room, the film introduces what’s become the most overused cliché in French thrillers, the female cop who’s harder than the men she works with but is completely devoid of any personality traits beyond scowling or turning down dates, partnered with Gérald Laroche’s dead meat spaghetti western fan (and my doesn’t the Maurizio Graf’s rendition of Ennio Morricone’s title song from The Return of Ringo get a lot of play in the film at the most inopportune moments). It doesn’t help that Rachida Brakni is so relentlessly one-note and uncharismatic that you can’t care about her one way or the other – indeed, Thierry Frémont’s hangdog-faced security man who keeps on finding himself murdering people to cover up accidentally killing a blackmailing prostitute is a far more intriguing presence. Dussolier’s good value too in the kind of part he’s played so many times in better pictures that he could probably do it in his sleep, but for the most part it’s just a join the dots amble through the usual conspiracy clichés, professionally made but never much more than watchable and at times a bit dull. Still, at least at 95 minutes it’s short.
No extras apart from startup trailers for Brquo and Maison Close, but it is in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio with the original French language with optional English subtitles.