- Director:Mathieu Kassovitz
- Cast:Mathieu Kassovitz, Iabe Lapacas, Philippe Torreton, Malik Zidi
- Release Date:April 12, 2012
- Distributor:Jump Street
- Running time:129 minutes
- Film Worth:$16.00
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
Tense, impressively shot and free of any showy heroics, this is an incisive and affecting look at the way war and politics tragically intersect.
Mathieu Kassovitz' 1995 feature, La Haine, was a bold and brilliant piece of new French realism, which documented with scathing urgency the overlooked rupture between the authorities and Paris' disenfranchised immigrant youth. It deservedly scored Kassovitz the Best Director prize at Cannes, and announced the filmmaker as a talent to watch, but his subsequent output - which includes such Hollywood misfires as Gothika and Babylon A.D. - has been undeniably disappointing. Fans will be heartened to see the actor-director return to his political instincts with Rebellion, which traces an incident in 1988 New Caledonia, when a group of Kanak activists took French soldiers hostage to plead their independence - an incident which rattled the country and its upcoming presidential elections.
Rebellion sees Kassovitz star as Captain Philippe Legorjus, whose elite counter-terrorism unit is sent to New Caledonia to defuse the situation. They're soon taken hostage, however, by the rebels, who warily release the captain to act as mediator between the French army officers planning an assault and the rebel leader, Alphonse Dianou (Iabe Lapacas). Legorjus remains determined to negotiate a peaceful resolution, but with the impending French elections, we watch as the crisis is tragically transformed into a popularity match by the politicians.
A tense, visceral but never heroic war picture, this also works well as an incisive historical study and an occasionally earnest but frank look at the way in which politics so often trump reason - with heartbreaking results. It's impressively shot (the opening war scene staged as a hallucinatory nightmare is a particular stand-out), and while it's initially a little muddled in establishing facts, this also serves to add to the claustrophobia of the situation that Legorjus and his men have been thrust into. At the heart of Rebellion, however, is the tentative but genuine rapport developed between Legorjus and Dianou, which makes the ultimate outcome all the more gut-wrenching.