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“Les vrai policiers vont arriver, cette fois.”
To hear the review
To hear the review
I was going to write this review in French, because I may as well. Affaire De Famille comes to DVD April 28th from Alliance Films, directly from France. It is, I assume, released in Canada strictly for Francophones, since it does not have any English at all. It doesn’t have a dubbed version (thank God) and it has no subtitles (too bad). It really is too bad, because Affaire De Famille is pretty good. And the reason I didn’t go ahead and write this review in French was that I was going to read it in French, and I speak it (at least a little bit) better than I write it.
So this is an English-language review for a French-language only movie, which means it will be useful only for those who are fluently bilingual. And the audience once again gets smaller…seriously. At least throw in some subtitles. That can’t be too hard. Anyway, the movie involves the Guignebont family – father Jean (a former soccer star), mother Laure (played by an actress with a toddler-esque name, “Miou-Miou”), and hot young daughter Marine. One night, during a big soccer match near their house, there is a robbery in the betting room, where masked gunmen make off with hundreds of thousands of euros.
The movie is told in several stages. We see a series of events, then the movie rewinds to the beginning and shows us those same events from the perspective of a different character. At first, we think one thing, then realize something else is actually going on. The film is extremely well constructed, in that everything we see seems plausible, until the entire plot is turned on its ear moments later. The plot twists rely on a few character traits – Miou-Miou (the mother – I like using her actress name because it’s so silly) is almost dithery, and tends not to trust her husband, so she is easily convinced (as are we) that he is getting ready to leave her and run off.
Her daughter Marine has a lot of trouble trusting her boyfriend, who is involved in the heist and the attempted cover-up as well. Her mistrust is essential to the story line as well, since she does things that she would never do if she knew what was really going on. And that’s the best thing about the movie. All the characters act upon their preconceptions, which happen to be the same ones that we, the viewers have. And when we find out what is actually going on, we see how foolish their actions really are, and we laugh. Or, we are relieved, or we’re upset that we’ve been duped by perspective.
There are some fantastic scenes – Jean, the father, decides that being involved with this scheme means that he really should have a gun, and since he already has one he goes to a gun shop to get bullets. The scene is very funny, with this old man not understanding anything about the gun culture, about guns themselves, or about the corrupt and underhanded intentions of the people behind the counter. He is so clearly in over his head that it’s hilarious. The performances by the actors are good, they are all believeable and their timing is excellent. The ending is obvious and we can see it coming from miles away, but that’s the only thing in the movie we DO see coming, so it’s OK.
It really is too bad that Alliance Films (or maybe it’s the French distributors who have) decided to release this movie without English subtitles. It’s good enough to make an impact, in English or in French, but this way a fine film will be seen only by Francophones in Canada. Lucky Francophones.