Jean-pierre Darroussin

Jean-pierre Darroussin

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Le Havre Review


Good
Finnish filmmaker Kaurismaki heads to France for this marvellously askance comedy-drama, for which he again uses a genre style with only a tentative connection. Although shot like a 1940s spy movie, the story's actually about present-day class issues.

Marcel (Wilms) is an ageing shoe-shiner in the port city Le Havre, getting no respect from anyone. After his doting wife Arletty (Outinen) ends up in hospital for cancer treatment, Marcel encounters young refugee Idrissa (Miguel), who has escaped from Gabon on his way to meet his mother in London.

While hiding Idrissa from a nosey cop (Darrousin) and a meddling neighbour (Leaud), Marcel gets help from his friends (Salo, Didi, Monnie and Nguyen) and his faithful dog Laika.

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The Well-digger's Daughter Review


Excellent
For his directing debut, actor Auteuil remakes Marcel Pagnol's 1940 classic into a twisty, involving romance. It's thoroughly engaging all the way through, leaving us with a surge of emotion we rarely get at the cinema.

In rural pre-War France, Pascal is a widower (Auteuil) with six daughters. The oldest is 18-year-old Patricia (Berges-Frisbey), who's starting to notice boys.

She's reluctant about a plan to fix her up with Pascal's employee Felipe (Merad), and instead flirts shamelessly with Jacques (Duvauchelle), a dashing pilot who literally sweeps her off her feet. But her secret courtship with Jacques doesn't go as planned. Then war breaks out and both men are called to battle, leaving Patricia pregnant. And Jacques' parents (Azema and Darroussin) don't want to know.

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22 Bullets [l'immortel] Review


Good
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.

Continue reading: 22 Bullets [l'immortel] Review

22 Bullets Trailer


After living a life of crime, Charly Mattei decides to leave his past behind him and devote his family. It's been over three years since his last offence and as far as Charly is concerned his previous bad ways are far behind him. All is set to change when a previous friend leave Charly for dead with 22 bullets in his body.

Continue: 22 Bullets Trailer

Un Air de Famille Review


Weak
There are exactly three moments in this movie that are really worth watching, and one of them comes when a fashionable woman's choker is mistaken for a dog collar (an obvious joke I know, but always funny). The other two moments are the only two times that this relentless work of realism even begins to approach optimism.

Un Air de Famille, or Family Resemblances by its English title, is your typical under-drama from the French cinema. It is a single setting observation of the interactions of an estranged family at the weekly family dinner, when tensions begin to run high. I would mention the performances here, but they all kind of run into one melancholy melange, ultimately resulting in very striking resemblances between the characters, at least insofar as my opinion of them.

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Marius et Jeannette Review


Grim
How's this for grand escapism? The caretaker of an abandoned cement factory falls in love with a supermarket clerk after she tries to steal some unused paint. Robert Guédiguian's love story is a thinly disguised fable about the superiority of "the simple life," but ultimately it says nothing. Boring and fairly tame for the genre, even for the French.

A Very Long Engagement Review


OK
Although there are likely better directors who could have been found to film Sebastien Japrisot's World War I-set novel A Very Long Engagement than Jean-Pierre Jeunet, of City of Lost Children fame and Alien: Resurrection infamy, there are many more who would have been worse - and if that sounds like a backhanded insult, it's not. The story of five French soldiers who are sentenced to death for self-inflicted wounds (done so that they could be evacuated from the front lines) and condemned to march out into the no man's land between the Germans' trenches and theirs, it's a tricky mix of war epic, black comedy, and heart-stirring romance that would have left many filmmakers flummoxed. And although Jeunet takes some serious missteps and doesn't know when to leave the jokes alone, he has mostly succeeded where many would have failed.

Although it starts off like a war film - opening in the muck and mire, as all good war films must - and gives us plenty of reason to understand why these soldiers shot themselves in the hand (a sort of purposeful self-stigmata), A Very Long Engagement is really about a woman trying to find her lost love. The woman, Mathilde, is played by Jeunet's muse, Audrey Tautou, and though she doesn't here have the near-angelic glow he gave her in Amelie, she's plenty captivating nonetheless. Mathilde fell in love with her childhood friend, Manech (Gaspard Ulliel), and we see their romance in flashback, all frolicking in their picturesque village, swooning episodes atop a lighthouse and innocent carnality. Then the war comes, and poor, fresh-faced Manech is sent off to the front, later to be one of the five hurled into no man's land by a callous military bureaucracy determined to make an example of them. After the war, Mathilde refuses to accept what seems obvious to everybody else, that Manech is dead, and she launches on a journey to dig up every last piece of information she can about the case and find out what happened to her one true love.

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Red Lights Review


Excellent
Red Lights consists of a lot of driving, but unlike those trips you took with your folks and their array of Air Supply and Anne Murray cassettes, it's never boring. This movie is a riveting look at manhood and marriage. It's also legitimately frightening.

A Parisian couple in their 40s set off on a lengthy trip to pick up their kids from camp in Southern France. Hélène (Carole Bouquet) is a successful attorney who is a beloved, crucial part of her firm. Antoine (Jeane Pierre Darroussin) works for an insurance company, and it's very apparent that this trip has a very different meaning for him. In the movie's early moments, you see that he's dissatisfied with his role in the relationship. He's waiting on her to arrive; she's the one with the demands. He leaves work without any notice.

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Jean-pierre Darroussin

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