Detective Mangin (Depardieu) is a Parisian cop who specializes in interrogations, using intimidation to the point of sadism. His efforts to bust a Tunisian drug racket go awry, however, when he falls into an affair with a sultry, defiant liar (Marceau), who is the girl of one of the criminals.
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Somehow Pialat and Breillat manage to make it feel as though there is no structure to what we are seeing and yet unravel a variety of different narrative strands. A very powerful film as always and Depardieu is great. As an added note, I'd love to see L' Enfance Nue here, as I missed it the first time round! :)
Disjointed, uneven, and an often nonsensical narrative is mirrored by performances that waiver throughout. Somewhat cliched, with cringe worthy dialogue, it's nevertheless an interesting period piece with regard to institutional racism and police brutality, and the commonplace casual racism and sexism that abounded at the time (not that it's vanished, but contemporary cop thrillers don't engage with such issues).
Pialat's themes of machismo and sex are at home in a Parisian police station. While some viewers may find offence at the way Arabs are portrayed, these characters are by no means caricatures! Depardieu is imposing as the pitiful Goliath, indulging in a web of lies but allowing himself to finally trust. Forget the police, the subplots and action - this is what the films about, so don't lose focus.
Depardieu as we all prefer to remember him - young, hungry; a tough exterior but vulnerable. Some compelling performances but this would have worked better today as a TV series 'flic'. More time for character development and sub plots. sadly the underlying racism would remain the same...