Rebellion (L'Ordre Et La Morale) (R15)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner24/02/2013

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 136 mins

An intelligent and striking film that ever so slightly drags in the middle, Rebellion contains impressive cinematography and strong dialogue, and Mathieu Kassovitz shines as its director and star.

What’s it all about?
Based on the novel La Morale et l’action by Philippe Legorjust, Rebellion is based on the true events surrounding the kidnapping of 30 French police officers in the French colony of New Caledonia by Kanak dissidents in April 1988. Mathieu Kassovitz (who also directs and co-writes the screenplay) stars as Philippe, the captain of a counter-terrorism police unit, who’s sent into the heart of the base to negotiate a diplomatic solution with the rebels. However, with the presidential elections also taking place in France, the pressure is on and the stakes are high and Philippe must gain the trust of rogue leader Alphonse (Iabe Lapacas) before making the dangerous move that sets up the dramatic finale.

The Good
Rebellion is an intelligently written and provocative film, which presents an informative and interesting account of the fascinating political affairs taking place in France at the time. The pacing is steady, the voiceover provides the film with an emotional and personal pull and the cinematography is fantastic, particularly in the scenes that introduce us to the scope and breathtaking landscape of the Ouvéa Island, where the film is set. Finally, the score wonderfully creates the sense of danger and suspense at the right moments, as do the rotating camera angles, which heightens the intensity in certain scenes.

The Great
Returning with his first French language film in over 10 years, Mathieu Kassovitz is on top form both in the director’s seat and in the role of Philippe, which he plays with evident ease and quiet confidence. The support cast is also impressive, particularly Iabe Lapacas as the menacing and terrifying Alphonse.

However, because Rebellion’s dialogue sometimes moves at such a rapid pace (which is great, nevertheless), non-French-speaking viewers may find it a little demanding and effortful to keep up with the subtitles and as a result Rebellion can be occasionally exhausting. The film’s stretched running time can also be felt in the second act, which ever so slightly drags a little. Nevertheless, the payoff is worth it.

Worth seeing?
Rebellion is a heavy film that requires investment in both thought and emotion, but the rewarding payoff is more than worth it and the dramatic finale is explosive. Recommended.

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Content updated: 16/09/2019 15:03

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