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Rebellion/L'ordre et la morale

8/10

Stars: Mathieu Kassovitz, Iabe Lapacas, Malik Zidi , Alexandre Steiger, Daniel Martin, Philippe Torreton, Sylvie Testud, Steeve Une, Philippe de Jacquelin Dulphé

Director: Mathieu Kassovitz

Mathieu Kassovitz, best known perhaps for La Haine and Amelie, returns to form with an impressive triple as writer, director and star of this powerful, fact-based war film which vividly exposes how subversive politics – in this case presidential elections in France – poison already dangerous situations.

In April 1988, Kanak separatists kidnap 30 policemen on the French Pacific island colony of Ouvéa in French Caledonia. The response is potent. 300 special force operatives are dispatched to restore order. There Kassovitz’s fact-inspired character Philippe Legorjus, captive of the elite counter-terrorism unit GIGN ends up in a tense face-off with Iabe Lapacas’ rebel leader as they try and reach a peaceful solution. But there’s a problem – the presidential elections back in France raises the political stakes higher than might have been expected…

Kassovitz makes impressive use of New Caledonia directions and of Mark Koninckx’s fluid widescreen cinematography to create war movie sequences that both thrill and convince, but without overshadowing the key performances. The film scores strongly both as a vivid, violent war movie and a disturbing political parable. Kassovitz and Lapacas rightly take centre screen with fine performances, the former making a memorable comeback on both sides of the camera.

Alan Frank

France 2011. UK Distributor: LionsGate. Colour.
135 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 20 Apr 2013