Chrysalis. Practically the only thing the two films have in common is a color palette heavy on blue and grays, but even then Chrysalis is glossy, shiny and metallic, while The Assault is muted nearly to black-and-white, with only those blues (and a few other "almost" colors) coming occasionally to the fore. Here, Leclercq uses a near-documentary style, with a hand-held camera that sticks to close-ups during the major action scene, and has us seeing everything from the shooter's-eye view, only occasionally opening up into the greater distance. This can be confusing, but rightfully so, I think, because it's like being in the midst of the action, not knowing exactly what is happening where.
Thierry Pouget and trio of editors (Mickael Dumontier, Christine Lucas Navarro and Frédéric Thoraval) manage to give us what we need to follow, even if we're kept off-balance -- not a bad position to find oneself in a film such as this.
From the beginning, which has our hero, GIGN-member Thierry (played in fine form by Vincent Elbaz, below), at a low point, due to his group's recent incursion which appears to have led to the slaughter of a child's family -- whether necessary or not, we don't know. Immediately after, we're with the terrorists, as they gear up for their attack on the target.
Aymen Saïdi (two photos down), is a "believer" whose own mother, mid-film, cannot shake him from his path. "Don't you love me?" she pleads. "I love God more," is the stark reply. The movie should have you, rightly enough, disgusted with terrorism and even more so with this hate-filled, religious/fundamentalist approach to what in reality remains a major social problem of class and economics in nearly all countries. If you've got a gripe, boys, take care of it however you choose. But then take the responsibility for your actions yourself and leave Allah/God/Yaweh out of it, because clearly, as a man pointing a gun at others while using that supposed higher-power as your commanding officer, you haven't a clue who or what you're talking about. But I digress.
Screen Media Films, opens this Friday, April 6, in a limited theatrical release. In New York City it will play at the Village East Cinema. I wish I could give you a link to other playdates around the country, but -- at least so far -- Screen Media has not provided anything like that.