22 Bullets [l'immortel]

"Good"

22 Bullets [l'immortel] Review


As violent as this mob thriller is, it also has a terrific sense of its central characters, focussing on strong emotions and moral decisions. And even though it's overcomplicated, the result is a sleek and very classy.

Charly (Reno) retired from his job as a Marseilles mob boss to spend time with his family. But someone has it in for him, and after he survives being shot 22 times, Charly and a cop (Fois) start looking for who did it. Charly immediately turns to the other local bosses (Merad and Berry), childhood friends with whom he took a vow of loyalty. But soon all-out war breaks out between thugs on various sides, and the division of loyalty isn't as clear-cut as it should be.

Reno is terrific in the role as a haunted man who knows he can never escape his violent past ("Spilled blood never dries," he says). He's such a compelling central character that he holds our attention even as seemingly hundreds of other people crowd around him. It's virtually impossible to keep track of who's who and which side everyone's on, but as Charly steadily moves through each scene, like the calm point in a storm, we feel like we're in safe hands.

And Berry has an assured directorial hand, skilfully navigating both the action and emotion to draw us in right from the opening shot. Yes, this is still a Besson-produced romp, with loads of brutal set pieces and an almost overpowering sense of violent retribution, but unlike Besson's other big thrillers (like Taken), this one has a soulfulness that lets us identify with its characters even in the most grisly situations.

And it gets very grisly indeed. For someone who has taken a vow of pacifism, Charly metes out extremely brutal vengeance. In Besson World, he is driven to this by the viciousness of those who are coming after him. Fair enough. Except that Charly exceeds everyone else's cruelty at each turn while indulging in rather selective morality. This senseless mayhem makes us pause, knowing that something is deeply wrong with the premise. But it's so entertaining that we let the filmmakers off the hook.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Budget: $24M

Production compaines: TF1 Films Production, EuropaCorp

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Pierre-Ange Le Pogam

Starring: as Charly Matteï, as Yasmina Telaa, as Martin Beaudinard, as Marie Goldman, as Aurelio Rampoli, Joey Starr as Pistachio, Dominique Thomas as Ange Palardo, as Tony Zacchia, Luc Palun as Pascal Vasetto, Martial Bezot as Franck Rabou, Daniel Lundh as MaleTelaa, Joséphine Berry as Eva Matteï, Max Baissette de Malglaive as Anatole MatteMatteï

Also starring:


Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Amy Movie Review

Amy Movie Review

As with his Formula One documentary Senna, filmmaker Asaf Kapadia cleverly uses archival footage to...

Terminator Genisys Movie Review

Terminator Genisys Movie Review

This declining franchise really needed a jolt to the head, but the producers disappointingly opt...

Magic Mike XXL Movie Review

Magic Mike XXL Movie Review

Resisting the temptation to capitalise on the camp value of these characters, Channing Tatum and...

She's Funny That Way Movie Review

She's Funny That Way Movie Review

Wacky enough to make us smile but never laugh out loud, this screwball comedy harks...

Advertisement
Everly Movie Review

Everly Movie Review

A relentless onslaught of violent action, this movie is notable mainly because there's a woman...

Slow West Movie Review

Slow West Movie Review

First-time feature filmmaker John Maclean takes a strikingly original approach to the Western, creating a...

Mr. Holmes Movie Review

Mr. Holmes Movie Review

Despite this being a film about Sherlock Holmes, the fact that it's not much of...

Entourage Movie Review

Entourage Movie Review

Both shameless and shamelessly entertaining, this relentlessly boyish movie carries on exactly as the TV...

Advertisement