Alliance Francaise French Film Festival 2014

11.6

Directed by: Philippe Godeau

Starring: Francois Cluzet, Bouli Lanners

Three and a half stars

Review by: Julian Wright

Setting itself apart from the abundance of heist films, 11.6 (referring the millions of Euros brazenly stolen in this based on fact story) keeps certain details close to its chest. While the Ocean’s 11, 12 and 13 films, among others, make a point of uncovering each detail in the complex plans to steal money, gold jewels (or whatever) from highly secured bank vaults or casinos (or whatever), 11.6 is hazy on methods.

Toni Musulin (Francois Cluzet) is stuck in a menial security job, protecting loads of cash as it is transported in an armored truck, he is in a deeply unhappy relationship with his wife and his boss is a jerk. After 10 years of loyal service going un-reciprocated (the final straw is a simple request for leave that is not granted), he decides to “stick it to the man” by stealing 11.6 million Euros on one of his transportation trips.

Toni’s plight is perfectly captured in the first half of 11.6 – if perhaps slightly overdoing how down trodden and miserable he is. After a few scenes, we get it, but 11.6 tends to keep showing us. Then, after so much time is put into fleshing out his world, we are suddenly  kept at arm’s length while he plots and plans his heist. While this keeps the mystery alive and the audience on its toes, it is difficult to remain emotionally invested in the character.

11.6 captures the story with cold, steely cinematography – this is certainly not intended as a light and breezy Ocean’s knock off. Director Godeau is aiming for realism here, and for Toni’s surroundings to reflect his state of mind not a slick, glossy version of events. As a thriller it is sluggish, but it still keep you hanging on until the end.

Mobius

Directed by: Eric Rochant

Starring: Jean Dujardin, Cecile De France

Three stars

Review by: Julian Wright

Just like its “nobody is who they seem” characters, Mobius, is also a bit of poser. Acting like a steamy thriller but without the steam or the thrills, it is trying to convince us that it is something that it isn’t. And for the most part, we are under its misleading spell.

Providing the appropriate amount of international flavour, the Monaco set story has Russian secret agent Gregory (Jean Dujardin) recruit financial trader Alice (Cecile De France) to entrap businessman Ivan (Tim Roth). Her job requires her to get close to Ivan who is, understandably, suspicious. but while she is acting like a potential lover to him, Alice and Gregory find themselves attracted to each other.

Pairing the absurdly handsome Jean Dujardin and the seriously sexy Cecile De France should have resulted in fireworks. When this low-key, slow burn story promises big bangs but only offers up a couple of mild pops, it is the cast that hold our attention. The three keys actors give it their best go, but the pacing is slow and the storytelling lethargic with little payoff. But at least we are rewarded with a shirtless Dujardin.

Read my review for Bright Days Ahead here.

11.6, Mobius and Bright Days Ahead screen as part of the Perth Alliance Francaise French Film Festival, which runs from March 18 to April 6. For more titles, information and the full schedule, go to http://www.affrenchfilmfestival.org/

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