Eastern Boys

"Good"

Eastern Boys Review


An extremely topical theme and unpredictable characters hold the audience's attention even when this French drama takes some rather implausible turns. Shot and performed with earthy honesty, the film grapples with prickly situations in ways that are both enlightening and somewhat frustrating to watch. But by refusing to go where expected, writer-director Robin Campillo tells a story that can't help but add a personal angle to the immigration debate.

In Paris, Daniel (Olivier Rabourdin) is a middle-aged nice guy intrigued by a gang of Eastern European guys hanging around the Gare du Nord. Specifically, he finds himself dawn to Marek (Kirill Emelyanov), and eventually gets the nerve to invite him to his flat. But Marek turns up with the entire gang in tow, and they proceed to steal pretty much everything from Daniel's home. The next day, Marek comes back alone and apologetic, and Daniel reluctantly agrees to talk to him. As they begin a regular routine as rentboy and client, Daniel decides that maybe he can help Marek break free from the gang leader they call Boss (Daniil Vorobyev).

Even though it ends up as a somewhat contrived thriller, the film's shifting moods are fascinating as they evoke strong responses from the characters and the audience. In the beginning, the horror of Daniel's situation gives way to a rather sweet and messy friendship that's tricky to categorise. Is he in love with Marek or just lusting after him? Or perhaps something completely different is going on here. Campillo enjoys keeping the audience off balance, which can feel rather elusive, especially when something happens that's difficult to believe. But the film so provocative that it's worth the effort.

Even so, for what's essentially a dramatic freak-out, the tone is strangely muted, giving little insight into the characters. It's not easy to understand what Daniel sees in Marek, but Rabourdin's performance continually hints at deeper motivations, while Emelyanov has a thoughtful personality that's likeable in offbeat ways. But the film only really comes to life when the fiery Vorobyev is on-screen with his piercing blue eyes and lean physical menace. He provides the energy that drives the somewhat clunky final act, powering right through the gaps in logic and inexplicable behaviour to an ending that cleverly forces us to confront our own reactions and feelings about these people, even if it's difficult to care how things turn out for them. But more importantly, the film almost inadvertently encourages us to consider our response to foreigners who live all around us.

 



Eastern Boys

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 128 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 2nd April 2014

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Hugues Charbonneau, Marie-Ange Luciani

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.