Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. France, 2014. Les Films Hatari, Le Studio Orlando, Bac Films, Ciné+, Cinémage 8, Indéfilms 2, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Région Ile-de-France. Screenplay by Sarah Petit, Emmanuelle Jacob. Cinematography by Laurent Desmet. Produced by Music by Production Design by Costume Design by Film Editing by Toronto International Film Festival 2014.
Jérémie Renier serves with Surho Sugaipov in the French Foreign Legion, the two of them such good friends that they never leave each other’s side, even when one is badly wounded in battle and the other risks his life to get him to safety. When Sugaipov is discharged and returns to Paris, we discover that he enlisted to improve his chances for gaining French citizenship, having arrived there years earlier from Chechnya with his young son and left the boy in the care of friends while he went off to the military. Now father and son are brought back together for a continuing series of experiences and tragedies that will also bring Renier back into the picture and test the loyalty that these two friends have for each other. Good performances and skilled direction make up for a lack of deep resonance; director Sarah Petit wisely brings a lot of restrained emotion to situations that could easily go melodramatic but never do.