Monday, December 12, 2016

Home-grown terrorism, French-style, in Nicolas Boukhrief's thriller, MADE IN FRANCE

Although made in 2014 and released (in France) in 2015, the new thriller/melodrama MADE IN FRANCE, co-written (with Eric Besnard, of the glorious Ca$h) and directed by Nicolas Boukhrief, appears mostly to be, as they say, "ripped from recent headlines" -- particularly those regarding home-grown terrorism in full swing. The film is an effective look at terrorism from several angles: journalism, anti-terrorist law enforcement, and the terror cell itself, as well as from the POV of all the various characters caught up in this hugely troubling scenario.

M. Boukhrief, shown at left, does an excellent job of compressing time, information and character into a sleek 89 minutes of fast-paced storytelling, in which we meet a journalist named Sam (Malik Zidi, shown below, and recently seen in The Assistant) who has managed to involve himself covertly with a terrorist cell in which, before he can extract himself or alert the authorities, he suddenly becomes a functioning (and violent) part. This unfortunately leaves him open to blackmail by those authorities who need him to remain under-cover to help them prevent further atrocities. The slippery slopes here grow greasier by the moment.

Cast exceptionally well with actors who seem quite right for their roles (and fill them to the brim), the movie functions as exciting entertainment, as well as a heavy-duty and all-too-timely warning about the threat of fundamentalism gone increasingly haywire.

It also allows us to see the varying standpoints of these "brothers" in arms (above), as well as that of their frighteningly insistent leader (played with intense strength and a certain reserve by Dimitri Storoge, center left, above). Their differing beliefs control the thinking and functionality of these men, and as those beliefs are of varying depth, they make the actions of our guys, and therefore the tale being told, full of small surprises that add increasingly to the complications on view.

The distaff side is represented by the beauteous and striking Nailia Harzoune, as the woman belonging to the cell leader, and this character proves pivotal to what finally takes place.

If the movie sorts itself out a little too conveniently, at least it does so with finesse and excitement, leaving us to ponder anew the prospects of both widespread group-terrorists acts in our western nations, as well as those simple-but-deadly, one-off jobs.

From Distrib Films US and Under the Milky Way, Made in France will make its debut, tomorrow, Tuesday, December 13, on all major VOD platforms in the United States, including iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Comcast, Charter, and Vudu. 

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