Through the Fire (Sauver ou périr)
Pierre Niney, Anaïs Demoustier, Vincent Rottiers
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Both leads are excellent in this emotionally turbulent account of rebuilding after trauma.
In Through the Fire, Frédéric Tellier expertly frames a story of personal sacrifice and professional courage. A powerfully moving examination of the kind of experiences those in the front-line of the emergency services have to contend with on a daily basis, the struggle of life as a firefighter is portrayed both realistically and humanely.
Franck (Pierre Niney) is a completely committed firefighter. His devotion towards his profession is matched by the love and duty of care he feels for his wife Cécile (Anaïs Demoustier) and their young children. Franck takes a stark view of the challenges involved in firefighting – his motto is ‘to save or perish’.
That belief in an absolute purpose is tested to the extreme when Frank suffers terrible burns to the face when called out with his team to a raging inferno. He somehow manages to survive, but the long and arduous road to recovery is one fraught with danger, both to himself, and to his familial relationships.
Both leads are excellent in this emotionally turbulent account of rebuilding after trauma. Franck appears with his face hidden by a mask of bandages and dressing for much of the film, yet Niney brilliantly portrays the internal pain and fear with subtlety and depth. Demoustier tells Cécile’s story beautifully, with the stress and worry forming cracks in a relationship that was once so grounded and stable.
The film sensitively looks at the big questions of life and meaning; our identities, our family, and perceptions of roles in life. It also shows how in extremis even the best of humanity can be put to the test. The biggest test of the audience, however, is how many will experience a teary eye or two…