Rivals (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner04/12/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 107 mins

Atmospheric, noirish French cop thriller with strong performances from its two leads, though it's slightly let down by a disappointing climax.

What's it all about?
Directed by Jacques Maillot and loosely based on a true story, Rivals is set in the 1970s and stars Guillaume Canet and Francois Cluzet (both of whom were in Tell No One) as Francois and Gabriel, two brothers who have grown up on opposite sides of the law. When Gabriel gets out of prison after a lengthy stretch, he vows to go straight, but when he's refused a licence for a kiosk business, he finds himself sucked back into a life of crime, much to the despair of his brother.

Meanwhile, Francois begins a relationship with Corinne (Clotilde Hesme), the wife of a violent convict (Mehdi Nebbou) he helped put away. And things come to a head when Francois realises that the brothel business he's investigating is being run by his brother.

The Good
Francois Cluzet is superb as Gabriel – with his long hair, black leather jacket and perpetual cloud of cigarette smoke, he looks like Dustin Hoffman channelling Al Pacino. Canet has the less flashy role, but is equally good as a man struggling to do the right thing, but constrained by his loyalty to his family.

There's also strong support from Clotilde Hesme as Corinne and Marie Denarnaud as Nathalie, a naive supermarket checkout girl, whose tentative relationship with Gabriel is genuinely sweet. In addition, Maillot creates an impressive 1970s atmosphere that works really well – so well, in fact, that you can practically smell the sweat and smoke in the club scenes.

The Bad
Unfortunately, the film is let down by a disappointing, poorly thought out ending that fails to deliver the intended emotional punch and leaves you with a strong feeling that something is missing.

Worth seeing?
In short, Rivals is an engaging, well acted French thriller that's strong on atmosphere but is ultimately let down by an unsatisfactory finale.

Film Trailer

Rivals (15)
Rivals has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 23/09/2018 14:45

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