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3.7 out of 5 stars
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3.7 out of 5 stars
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 14 September 2013
The latest film from Mathieu Kassovitz `The Fifth Element', `La Haine' and `The Lookout' to name but a few. He acts, directs, produces and stars in this production and usually with so much control a film suffers but not so in this case. He takes as his subject real events that took place on the French colonial island of New Caledonia back in April of 1998. Kanak separatists wanted to break from mother France and so staged an attack on a gendarme barracks capturing the garrison- some sixty officers. Unfortunately some gendarmes were killed in the assault. The rest were divided into two groups and taken into captivity.

Meanwhile back in France the CIGN have been ordered in to rescue the hostages. They are led by Capitaine du GIGN Philippe Legorjus played by; well yes you guessed it Mathieu Kassovitz. However, once they get there they find that the army have also arrived along with a ton of equipment and the place looks like a preparation for war as opposed to a hostage negotiation. The army are also in command and the CIGN are under their control. Meanwhile back in France the election is on and the two antagonists were Mitterand and Jaques Chirac. There is no appetite for French policeman to be held hostage as this is seen as a vote loser, so the army are under strict orders to end the crisis with all haste and especially before polling day.

The Kanaks are portrayed as having been pushed into a corner by the French and have seen their island ravaged for nickel extraction, they just want independence and do not want violence. What ensues is a story that is hardly well known; I found it hard to find anything about it and very little on the Kanak people themselves. It is though a very good piece of cinema. It has a big budget feel to it and enough action, intrigue and emotion to keep you hooked through-out. Whist I can not attest to the veracity of the film as presented it does make for a very interesting watch indeed. Originally released as "L'ordre et la morale", this is in French with good English sub titles and a run time of 136 minutes. If you like your European cinema to have a bit of action, politics and some historical content with a dollop of moralising, then this is for you.
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on 8 January 2015
Fantastic dramatisation of the Kanak uprising in New Caledonia of 1988. Modern day colonialism coupled with political interests always mean that somebody loses out. In this case its Capt. Legorjus a negotiator from the French Police's specialist GIGN unit and the Kanak hostage takers with whom he has built up a great trust . Ultimately the politicians exert their muscle and use the army to wipe out a tiny uprising that was at the point of a peaceful solution. How many times have we seen that before?!.
Mathieu Kassovitz not only has the lead role, but also directed, produced, co-edited and co-wrote this film which at no time lapses in suspense over the two hour length. The backwards and forwards between the jungle hideout and the French officials whips up a great tension that ultimately explodes at the end. The firefight scenes are breathtaking and brilliantly filmed, as is the whole movie. The locations are exotic as would expect, even though the film was shot in Tahiti rather than New Caledonia. Excellent film.
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on 19 March 2014
This is a dramatised version of a true event during the French colonisation of New Caledonia. The story is focused on a French police negotiator and his team that were flown in to calm down a radical seperatist group who had taken hotsages during an attack on a police post where unintentioned deaths had occured during the attack. The task is complicated by the French Presidential elections coming to the vote where the two candidates have opposing views of how to handle the situation. Politics and the army take over.... The story would be great fiction, but makes really good viewing as it is basically all true!
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on 14 May 2014
For reasons which become obvious during the course of this film, based on an actual incident in New Caledonia, this is a nasty bit of recent colonial history which is little known. A naive and botched rebellion attempt by indigenous Kanak is ruthlessly suppressed by French forces, not least because it coincides with the run up to the French presidential election. The protagonist is a negotiator whose work is undermined by metropolitan political interests, and the result is betrayal of the trust which he had tenously established with one of the Kanak leaders, as well as their slaughter at the hands of the French forces. New Caledonia is a major source of nickel. it is a French territory, so law and order is in the hands of the gendarmes, and involving the army is improper and is equivalent to callilng out the army to a conflict in Metropolitan France. However, the political and economic interests involved tend to take priority when a rebellion such as this one occurs. My main criticism of the film is the limited involvement the viewer is able to achieve with the main characters, so that the film has something of the detachment of a news report or documentary. Even so, it remains a salutary reminder that indigenous interests tend universally to be sacrificed to metropolitan economic and political interests, even in the nation that values equality, fraternity and justice.
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on 9 March 2014
I love French film but I would have to admit that there have been few films of late from this country which have matched the flood of excellent offerings made throughout the 2000's. This film is an exception and compares favourably with something like "Intimate Enemies", especially insofar that the story is laden with a degree of political awareness that is all too frequently missing from American films on the same subject. Whilst the action is largely limited to the last 20 or so minutes, the film's strength lies on the fact that the morality of the French presence in New Caledonia is seriously questioned and, if this film is accurate, then the actions verge on a war crime perpetrated by the French political classes. For me Kassovitz had an agenda and knew that he had a good story so obviating the need for the spectacular. So, instead of a shoot 'em up type effort, this film gently unfolds to explain how a botched coup attempt misfired and led to the French politicians Mitterand and Chirac not wishing to lose face in the middle of an election campaign. As a consequence, the incumbent Mitterand's response was something entirely contrary to the ethos of liberty, fraternity and equality. It is this aspect of the event that the film concentrates on as well as the muddled leadership of the French military who sometimes seemed to have lost control of their troops. This film does not reflect well on France and as a judgemental work of film making it is at once informative and beautiful to look at. The cinematography is superb.

I would agree that the pace of the film is sometimes slow. However, this is necessary to explain the situation on the islands and just how matters got out of control both for the rebels and the French soldier sent in to resolve the crisis which eventually centred around a number of the latter being held hostage. As a piece of cinema, the film looks terrific and clearly benefits from a good budget. I have not seen a film where helicopters have such menace since "Apocalypse Now" and the tropical scenario does invite comparisons. The film had me hooked and, if the genuine excitement is largely limited to the realistic shoot out in the end, the process of how both parties ended up killing each other despite a dialogue having been concluded to agree a settlement to the independence claim is fascinating.

This is as much a political film as a military one and I felt it was a good piece of cinema. However, I think that "Indigenes" shared a similar theme in dealing with the combination of the military and injustice and was probably the better film. That said, this is still the best French film that I have seen for a long time. Recommended.
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on 6 September 2015
DISSAPOINTED.AND IT HAD SUBTITLES WHICH I DIDNT REALISE.
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on 3 August 2015
not enough
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on 25 October 2015
Not great and not in English either
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on 29 August 2014
Very disappointed. It was in a foreign language. Not clear on advert. Wasted my money
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on 19 November 2014
I hadn't heard of the incident this was based on. This movie gives you just enough to want to find out more. Loved it. I just wish I spoke French and could just watch since I feel you miss a bit having to read subtitles.
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