36 Quai des Orfèvres (2004)
France / French
In the underbelly of the Parisian criminal world, the Police are frustrated by a gang committing a series of violent robberies...
Where honor meets decadence and gentleness brutality...
The film by Olivier Marchal has recently been released in Polish
cinemas under quite a misleading title, 36, which does not indicate
much to an average movie goer. And the same was as to me. I went to see
it not because it is based on true facts (no handout said it), nor
because it is a thriller (I am not a particular fan of such films) but
because of two main actors, Gerard Depardieu and Daniel Auteuil, both
remarkably popular in Europe. The movie surprised me, not only due to
the performances of the above mentioned persons, but because of the
content and the way it is presented.
MESSAGE AND REALISM: It would be silly to present now the content of
the film. Many before me have already done it. All I would like to say,
or in other words, all I would like to draw viewer's attention to are
two factors: what the film generally wants to convey and why it is so
natural. Marchal's film IS (I do not deny) filled with violence. It
shows the methods of the worst criminals. A particularly disgusting
moment was beating of a woman in a bar, close friend of the cops.
However, the main idea and focus is not directed towards the criminals
that much as rather towards two cops who can also be influenced by
decadence and brutality. Leo Vrinks (Daniel Auteuil) is definitely a
good man, attached to his family and striking for justice indefatigably
fighting against the pack of bandits. His former friend, however, Denis
Klein (Gerard Depardieu) moves his goals in a different direction...
Therefore, the end shows that they get what each one deserves...
Therefore, the movie is a wonderful message of how people stir their
goals in life. At the same time, it is a very natural presentation of
the world of the cops, how risky their lives are, how they really have
to deal with most serious crimes. But here, it is important to state
that by showing violence, the film IN NO WAY tries to promote it, but
aims at a realistic image of the main characters' reality.
CAST: The performances are great. Most people play very naturally,
which makes the film a true adventure. There are such moments in which
you feel that you are there with Vrinks. The director wonderfully
manages to lead a viewer to the action, to be controlled by it, to sink
in it. And that proves the fact that the film is a very talented piece
EMOTIONS: I was very, very surprised how many gentle moments the
producers entailed in a thriller. On the one hand, we see the
corruption and decadence of the criminal world; on the other hand,
there is love and gentleness. I will never forget the moment when
Vrinks is in a jail and does all he can in despair to see his wife,
Camille Vrinks (Valeria Golino). Their delicate kiss and gentle words
"I love you" later occur to be the key aspects of their last meeting in
this world. And the sequence of Vrinks and his 17 year old daughter,
Lola (played by Auteuil's real daughter Aurore Auteuil). He is showed
as a man who has never been spoiled by the world he dealt with. The
emotions that the movie shows are really worth attention - no kitsch,
no tearjerker, but real life!
To sum up, I have to say that I liked the movie. Not many French films
are released in Poland, not many of them are famous in the world
(pity), but after seeing Marchal's film, I consider it one of the best
of its genre. Really, honor meets decadence and gentleness meets
brutality. Isn't that realistic?
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