Irish Film Institute -Crimson Rivers, The

Crimson Rivers, The

Following the explosive success of La Haine (Hate) with the misfire that was Assassin(s), French director Mathieu Kassovitz has turned his talents to producing a stylish police thriller with big stars, spectacular locations and lots of thrills. The Crimson Rivers has Jean Reno playing a cop called Niemans who investigates a series of gruesome murders in Guernon, a quiet university town in the French Alps. The killings are brutal in the extremeocorpses have their hands hacked off and their eyes gouged out. At the same time, Max Kerkerian (Vincent Cassel), a young cop who lives 150 miles away, investigates some seemingly random acts of vandalism that turn out to be connected to the Guernon murders.
The two men remain ignorant of each other for over half the film, which adds suspense while avoiding for as long as possible the hoary cliche of pairing up an old, experienced cop with a young recruit. Although the Reno/Cassel relationship is very different from that of Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt in Seven, The Crimson Rivers’ brutal murders, moody atmosphere and complex mystery make comparisons with that film inevitable. With Kassovitz turning on the style, suspense and shock value, it seems that he is attempting, à la Luc Besson, to beat the Americans at their own game.

France, 2000.
English subtitles.
Dolby digital stereo.
103 mins.

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