170 - La Haine - 3 stars
Famously screened to the Parisian police force and government this is a fictionalised story based on real life events by director Matthieu Kassovitz (best known as the love interest in Amelie), it follows three friends Said, Hubert and Vinz as they wander around the estate with a cop's gun, with Vinz threatening to kill a cop if their friend dies in hospital as a result of police brutality.
It is a visceral look at a society about to explode and you know that violence is inevitable (but when it comes it is not how you expect). The three leads give natural, honest performances with Cassell showing some of the Gallic charisma (check out his DeNiro impression in the bathroom mirror) that made him the breakout star of the film.
With it being based on real life and, at times, having a documentary feel to it, it would have been interesting to see some interviews with people from the projects about their lives and the effect that the police action had on them cut into the film in places. The three leads give natural, honest performances with Cassel showing some of that Gallic charisma (check out his DeNiro impression in the bathroom mirror) that made him the breakout star of the film.
One quibble, but this is not down to the film maker, but when releasing a black and white subtitled film on DVD it might be an idea to have the subtitles in a colour other than white, as at times it made it very difficult to see what was being said. Good thing I got a 2 in standard grade French!
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